Biennale–Giardini

Below are the various national pavilions in the Giardini, pretty much in the order that I encountered them:

Hermann de Vries in the Netherlands Pavilion. A lovely grid of samples of different kinds of dirt from around the world.

Hermann de Vries in the Netherlands Pavilion. A lovely grid of samples of different kinds of dirt from around the world.

 

The Nordic countries were represented by a beautifully minimal sound installation. It was a tribute to the water harmonica, which is purported to have both healing and demonic qualities.

The Nordic countries were represented by a beautifully minimal sound installation. It was a tribute to the water harmonica, which is purported to have both healing and demonic qualities.

 

Chiaru Shiota representing Japan. A network of red yarn and keys gathered from all over the world.

Chiaru Shiota representing Japan. A network of red yarn and keys gathered from all over the world.

 

Marco Maggi 11

Marco Maggi representing Uruguay. The room looks bare, but actually there is a lot going on upon closer inspection. One could really spend some time in this room ironically enough.

Marco Maggi representing Uruguay. The room looks bare, but actually there is a lot going on upon closer inspection. One could really spend some time in this room ironically enough.

The Israel Pavilion had a raw DIY approach.

The Israel Pavilion had a raw DIY approach.

 

The statement for the Brazilian Pavilion was not apparent, but I think I got my best shot here.

The statement for the Brazilian Pavilion was not apparent, but I think I got my best shot here.

 

The artist representing Romania was one of my favorites. Just amazing paintings somewhat in the style of Francis Bacon. I loved how small photographic areas would melt into paint.

The artist representing Romania was one of my favorites. Just amazing paintings somewhat in the style of Francis Bacon. I loved how small photographic areas would melt into paint.

 

The Swiss Pavilion was truly making a statement about the environment. The water was about at eye level and was very stinky. The reflections were beautiful though.

The Swiss Pavilion was truly making a statement about the environment. The water was about at eye level and was very stinky. The reflections were beautiful though.

 

The Spanish Pavilion was quite absurd, like an Almodovar movie. Pictured here is a kinetic and sound sculpture, which was one of the tamest things. It spun around, dragging the mics on the ground contributing to the sound.

The Spanish Pavilion was quite absurd, like an Almodovar movie. Pictured here is a kinetic and sound sculpture, which was one of the tamest things. It spun around, dragging the mics on the ground contributing to the sound.

Biennale–Arsenale

The first day we went to the Arsenale. Apparently it is connected to old naval facilities and rope was made there at some point. The building / compound is in itself amazing and so things in there can look great as well. However I was duly impressed with the beginning of the show in this location. It was very cohesive and the work was powerful.
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A site specific work by Ibraham Mahama (from Ghana) used old coal sacks to cover the walls of a very long pathway outside of the Arsenale. It was a very beautiful impressive piece and also seemed to be an ode to El Anatsui, who is also from Ghana.
Ibraham Mahama Out of bounds 06

Ibraham Mahama Out of bounds 05

Sonia Gomes from Brazil was also able to integrate her textile works into the architecture.
Sônia Gomes

Another Eastern European artist also got to benefit from the patina of the building as a background to her works. It was something about clothes to wear when Putin wins an election.
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Abu Bakarr Mansaray made amazingly intricate and imaginative drawings that were a cross between a kid’s fantastical drawings and a madman’s scheming.
Abu Bakarr Mansaray Sinister Project 2008 ball point, colored pencils graphite on paper

Oscar Murillo covered school desks all over the world with canvas and let the kids draw on it for an entire school year. The results are displayed on these slick copper-topped tables. Those from Kenya were especially red from the indigenous dirt.
Oscar Murillo frequencies 2013-onging canvas marks made by school children (kenya)

Ricardo Brey (Cuba) had seemingly endless vitrines filled with book objects and other assemblage-type works.
Ricardo Brey Every Life is a Fire 2009 ongoing 03

The wacky juxtapositions of Helen Marten (UK) particularly endeared her work to us.
Helen Marten 2015

The large canvases of Ji Dachun (China) were impressive for their subtlety and mixture of marks. I loved this white on white one. To contrast, there was also a black on black.
Ji Dachun acrylic cavas white 02

Tiffany Chung (Vietnam) made these delicate and fastidious drawings based on a variety of alarming statistics from around the world.

Tiffany Chung

Week 3: Waiblingen + Venice

After Berlin we visited my cousin in Waiblingen, which is a suburb of Stuttgart in the south of Germany. On a Sunday they took me to an arty kids’ park called Eins und Alles (One and Everything). It was founded on the idea of providing sensory experiences for all ages and the different stations / activities are designed by students from an art school in the area and constructed with the help of disabled people. It was pretty fun to go through!
EinsundAlles Stuhl

EinsundAlles Bogen

EinsundAlles Spiegel

EinsundAlles Tür

Back at home, my first cousin had a birthday party and the Lego police station he got (and immediately assembled) was his pride and joy.

Johannes

While we didn’t make it into Stuttgart itself, we went to the downtown of Waiblingen which was absolutely adorable and walkable.

Waiblingen

Waiblingen innenstadt
Then we ultimately got on a plane to go to Venice. I had never flown over the Alps before. Pretty amazing!

Alps_1
Venice has been burning hot. Now I understand when folks talk about taking a shower and then feeling immediately damp again. Worse than the midwest. However it is beautiful and charming nonetheless and we take walks at night when it is just slightly cooler. Below are some impressions of the city.

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IMG_1945

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Week 2: Berlin

Schöneshestr
Street food german style: nothing like a hot bowl of split pea soup on a cold rainy day in June.

Erbsen suppe

I was hoping to see more Art Nouveau residue that can be found here and there in Berlin.

JugendstilWand

The Holocaust memorial; a huge grid of these blocks covers an entire city block. Not visible in the image is the descending floor; as one walks in, the steles grow taller, creating a greater sense of overpowerment and anonymity.

HolocaustMahnmal

Beuys@Bastian

We briefly stepped into this old bar / night club in the Kreuzberg area that had a residue of another kind.

MelittaTreppen

MelittaFlur

Week 1: Duisburg

Paintings with ash by Zhaung Huan part of the China 8 exhibit at Kuppersmühle Museum

Zhang Huan detail Zhang Huan full

Collaboration between artist and art history professor, parked at the Kuppersmühle Museum in Duisburg

Uboot far
UBoot

Breakfast at my aunt and uncle’s

MarmeladKFruhstuck

Romantic public Art in Düsseldorf

Duesseldort