Venice Biennale

54th Venice Biennale 2011: ILLUMInazioni

Officical Website:

The title of the 54th Exhibition, ILLUMInations literally draws attention to the importance of such developments in a globalised world. I am particularly interested in the eagerness of many contemporary artists to establish an intense dialogue with the viewer, and to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed.

The term ‘nations’ in ILLUMInations applies metaphorically to recent developments in the arts all over the world, where overlapping groups form collectives of people representing a wide variety of smaller, more local activities and mentalities.

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Anton Ginzburg’s Hyperborea at the 2011 Venice biennale

Anton Ginzburg: At the Back of the North Wind is an exhibition of new works by Anton Ginzburg, which will open to the public from June 3 to November 27, 2011 during the 54th Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Bollani. The exhibition will encompass four rooms and two floors and includes three large-scale sculptural installations, eight site-specific bas reliefs, photography, paintings, a video installation and a series of works on paper. Serving as the central narrative force for the exhibition, the film is a poetic and evocative record of the expedition to “map the void” and search for the mythological land of Hyperborea, “beyond the Boreas” (beyond the North Wind).

Anton Ginzburg uses an array of historical and cultural references as starting points for his investigations of art’s capacity to penetrate layers of the past. He constructs lines of memory and imagination, whether collective or individual, and traces them to points of intersection. The last room will contain Hyperborea, a video installation that will document the journey attempting to locate Hyperborea according to its descriptions in literature, newspaper articles and mythology. The installation takes the viewer from the primordial, virgin forest of Oregon, to St. Petersburg and its eroding palaces and haunted natural history museum, and finally to the ruins of the Gulag prisons and archeological sites on the White Sea. Present throughout the installation is a cloud of red smoke that functions both as a metaphor for the exalted self and an expression of the collective unconscious.

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Allora & Calzadilla 2011 Venice Biennale

Official Website:
4th June – 27th November 2011

The Puerto Rico–based multimedia duo Allora & Calzadilla has been announced as the United States’ representatives to the 2011 Venice Biennale, marking the first time that an artist pair or collective has been picked by the nation to fill the prestigious role. The selection was made by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which the U.S. State Department has entrusted to organize next year’s pavilion; Lisa Freiman, the chair of the museum’s contemporary art department, has been tapped as the commissioner of the pavilion.

For the 54th Venice Biennale, Ms. Allora and Mr. Calzadilla will create works that combine performance, sculpture, video and sound. In “Striving for Glory”, Allora & Calzadilla have adopted the Olympic Games — the festival of athleticism originated in the 8th century B.C. as a tribute to Zeus and then later turned into a political staging ground for all manner of nationalistic display — as a focus of their installation. And not just in the abstract either: be prepared to encounter former Olympian champs Dan O’Brien, David Durante, and Chellsie Memmel in the paviion.

All together the artists are creating six works for the pavilion. “Body in Flight (Delta)” and “Body in Flight (American)” revolve around wooden reproductions of the latest designs for airlines’ business-class seats. The seats themselves will stand in for the balance beam and pommel horse, becoming apparatuses for gymnastic and dance performances. For “Track and Field” a treadmill will be attached to an overturned military tank, and runners will run on it at regularly scheduled intervals.

The exhibition, Ms. Freiman said, questions the interplay among the body and art, militarism, commerce, sport and national identity. And the artists have chosen to call it “Gloria,” a title that “works across all the different metaphors: religious, military, Olympic and aesthetic,” she said.

The title Gloria translates from Italian and Spanish to Glory. Gloria references military, religious, spiritual, Olympic, economic, and cultural grandeur, and points to the pomp and splendor of the national pavilions. The title also references the numerous pop songs that the female name has inspired.

Algorithm (2011)

Allora Y Calzadilla

Algorithm combines a custom-made pipe organ with an automatic teller machine (ATM). Visitors enter the gallery space and see the organ from behind. In the towering, nearly 20-foot-tall interactive sculpture, a Diebold ATM sits inside the pipe organ, replacing the typical organ keyboard, pedals, keys, buttons, and knobs with various ATM parts including a card reader, keypad, speaker, display screen, receipt printer, and cash dispenser. Each financial transaction that visitors conduct generates a unique musical score that produces randomized notes and chords at varying degrees of volume by driving pressurized air through pipes selected via the ATM keyboard. The artists collaborated with composer Jonathan Bailey to create a composition of sounds that range from atonal material to more classically structured melodies, harmonies, and phrases.

Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed (2011)

Allora Y Calzadilla

Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed is an altered bronze replica of the Statue of Freedom, also known as Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace (and sometimes referred to as Armed Freedom), which has crowned the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building since 1863. Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed features a scaled down, 7 ½-foot replica of the original bronze sculpture, lying horizontally inside a Solaris 442 sun bed. The work is housed within the Pavilion’s rotunda, which echoes the architectural form of the U.S. Capitol dome and rotunda.

Body in Flight (American) (2011)

Allora Y Calzadilla
n Body in Flight (Delta) and Body in Flight (American), Allora & Calzadilla appropriated the forms of state-of-the art elite business class seats and reproduced full-scale wooden replicas stained like polychromatic religious icons. In Body in Flight (Delta) the artists substitute the airline seat replica for a balance beam to be used by a female gymnast from USA Gymnastics—the national governing body for gymnastics in the U.S.—who will perform a routine that emphasizes flexibility and fluidity. Body in Flight (American) loosely approximates a pommel horse and will be used by male gymnasts who perform routines that feature quick movements and sheer gymnastic power. Each work appears in a separate gallery that isolates and contrasts the gendered performances. Working with gymnast David Durante and modern dance choreographer Rebecca Davis, Allora & Calzadilla developed routines to create a new vocabulary of movement that is an unexpected hybrid of gymnastics and modern dance.

Half Mast\Full Mast (2010)

Half Mast\Full Mast (21 minutes) is the third in a series of short films Allora & Calzadilla have made about the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, which was controlled primarily by the U.S. Navy until 2003, when military exercises ceased and environmental remediation began. Filmed on the island, the two-channel video consists of two projected videos, one on top of the other. Each depicts a different landscape, but both share a common cinematic framing of a flagpole in the center of the image. The result of the two images together creates the appearance of one single flagpole connected between the two screens, despite the image’s otherwise obvious disjunctive backgrounds. One gymnast at a time enters one of the two screens and takes the position of a human flag. Depending on which screen the gymnasts appear, top or bottom, the flag seems to be flying at full mast or half mast, in sites that symbolically mark places of victory or setback in the island’s 60 year struggle for peace, decontamination, ecological justice, and sustainable development.

Track and Field (2011)

Allora Y Calzadilla

Installed in front of the U.S. Pavilion, Track and Field features a massive 60-ton overturned military tank that has been repurposed by superimposing a functioning treadmill above its right track. An athlete affiliated with USA Track & Field—the national governing body for track & field, long-distance running, and race walking—runs on the treadmill at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the exhibition

Tomás Saraceno: Venice Bianneial 09

Galaxies Forming along Filaments, like Droplads along the Strands of a Spider’s Web. 2009
Installation, elastic ropes
Central Exhibition, Giardini

Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno is exhibiting his work ‘galaxies forming along
filaments, like droplets along the strands of a spider’s web’ as part of the ‘fare mondi’ /
making worlds exhibition.

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Teresa Margolles: Biennale Di Venezia 09


Teresa Margolles
¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar?
(What Else Could We Talk About?)
7 June – 22 November 2009

The pavilion will host a solo show by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles titled ¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar? (What Else Could We Talk About?) which involves of a single and continuous intervention, with different actions and works along the pavillion. The show is curated by Cuauhtémoc Medina.

The works presented at the Mexican Pavilion are a subtle chronicle of the effects of a devilish international economy: the vicious circle of prohibition, addiction, accumulation, poverty, hatred and repression that transmogrifies the transgresive pleasures and puritan obsessions of the North into the South as Hell.

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