Here we continue our favorite country pavilions in the Giardini:
Lara Almarcegui at the Spanish pavilion
She calculated the exact quantity of each construction material of the Spanish pavilion and piled it separately up in the interior of the pavilion. A great statement!
Ai Weiwei at the German pavilion in the French pavilion
The historic concept of national pavilions for the biennale often has been challenged. As a nice diplomatic gesture, France and Germany swapped their pavilions for their national contribution to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their friendship treaty of Élysée.
The German curator Susanne Gaensheimer invited 4 artists from 4 different countries to the show. Ai Weiwei from China is certainly the most prominent one.
Unfortunately, the Chinese government did not issue a passport to Ai Weiwei for political reasons, so he could not even come to the opening of his two shows in Venice. (Mr. Weiwei’s mother represented the artist at the pavilion.)
Ai Weiwei’ s installation looks like a chaotic wood construction that fills the central hall of the pavilion. We have been told it is entirely made of old stools which exist(ed) in every Chinese home. They are all the same design, but the long time usage of these stools gives each an individual patina. It is a great symbol for the changes in Chinese society.
There is another Ai Weiwei show in Venice at the Chiesa di Sant Antonin. In this church, he rebuilt 6 identical models of his prison cell and his life in Chinese detention. We don’t think this is great art, it has something of a scary Madame Tussauds appeal, but it may be his of overcoming this time.
Jeremy Deller at the British pavilion
A total contrast to the International German pavilion was the British pavilion by Jeremy Deller. British critic Adrian Searle says, 'he showed many things that are really nice and awful in today’s Britain'. The Turner prize winner does not have a specific material he works with, often he is interested into social interaction.
There were drawings about the war in Afghanistan by former British soldiers, who are now in a British prison. There was a slow-motion video of an endangered hen harrier that catches a Land Rover. There were 1970s photos of a legendary David Bowie tour and of street riots. And there was free tea - and because of the bad wheather - the British tradition of queing for it.
We also think it was reasonable that British officials persuaded Jeremy Deller to leave a banner saying 'Prince Harry kills me' out of the show, because its many layers of meaning – or misunderstanding - could lead to more violence in the current political situation.
We liked the British pavilion, as it was not a great spectacle and, obviously, Jeremy Deller did not go for the great scandal for PR reasons, but made us think about Britain in a very sensitive way.
by UGL., H. Kremsmayer, K. Lambert, A. Bischof
'Il Palazzo Enciclopedico' at the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Through 24 November 2013
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