So it is that time again every two years the art world descents on Venice to take stock of what is happening. Often political or controversial. It is together with the Documenta (also happening this year) arguably the most important art event of all. In the Giardini park 85 countries are represented. In national pavilions, the Arsenale and the central Pavilion. There are also many other locations to see great art. Too much to see it all, but here is a selection.
U.S. pavilion: Mark Bradford
With the choice of Mark Bradford the curators confront the viewer. With the role of black, gay, and other minority groups. The discrimination, violence and hate people face back in the USA and beyond.
Korean Pavilion: Cody Choi, Lee Wan
The facade of the building is covered in neon signs made by Cocy Choi inside Lee Wan shows video’s. Both explore the relationship between the east and the western world in their work.
Austrian Pavilion: Brigitte Kowanz, Erwin Wurm
From the top of Erwin Worm’s truck the viewer has a nice vantage point over the Giardini gardens. Inside you can become part of the work yourself in his ‘One Minute Sculptures’. Brigitte Kowanz shows works with mirrors and light.
German Pavilion: Anne Imhof
Artist and choreographer Anne Imhof’s new piece ‘Faust’ has the performers sing, dance and maneuver. They stand on plinths above and crawl in the small space beneath the glass floor.
Nigerian Pavillion: Victor Ehikhamenor, Peju Alatise, Qudus Onikeku
In their first-ever pavilion, Nigeria’s show ‘How About Now?’ The show is positioned on several floors. The three artists get the chance to show their work looking at the history of the country and where it is going.
Icelandic Pavilion: Egill Sæbjörnsson
The show concisest of huge multi-media morphing art installations, sculptures, and music. Man-eating trolls seize the building in a catastrophic way.
Finnish Pavilion: Erkka Nissinen and Nathaniel Mellors
Political satire and absurd humor are key in this collaboration. A talking egg, videos and sculptures tell unreliable narratives.
British Pavilion: Phyllida Barlow
The British pavilion is bursting out of its seems with the work of Phyllida Barlow. A larger than live installation of abstract sculptures combined with recognizable forms.
St. Caterina Church: Rachel Maclean
Even though still part of the U.K. Rachel Maclean represents Scotland. With her new film, ‘Spite Your Face’. The church is dominated by the massive video work.
Abbazia di San Gregorio: Jan Fabre
Belgian artist Jan Fabre shows glass and bone sculptures, honoring Venetian glassblowers and Flemish masters.
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa: Lucy McKenzie
Lucy McKenzie’s installation consisting of painted furniture, trinkets, sculptures and paintings. It deals with race and gender. She remarks on the original function of the venue; a domestic house.
Dorsoduro, Campo San Vio: James Lee Byars
This phallic ‘the golden tower’ is one of the works you literately can’t miss at 66 feet it stands on the grand canal.
Mondrian Fan Club: Central Pavilion
As part of ‘Viva Arte Viva’ Christine Macel curated David Medalla in collaboration with Adam Nankervis. They create embroideries, drawings, installations and photographs in tribute to Piet Mondrian.