9 Aug 2017

Reasons To Visit The 2017 Venice Biennale

Reasons To Visit The 2017 Venice Biennale

by 
Shraddha Rathi

Contemporary artist, Shraddha Rathi shares her experience from her recent visit to the Venice Biennale and discovers how this international art exhibition combines the performing and visual arts in an ideation lab to create an ambience that involves all the senses.

Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
La Biennale de Venezia, the 57th international art exhibition titled ‘Viva Arte Viva’ curated by Christine Macel celebrates art, artists and the process of creation. Although, contemporary art documents and captures today's reality, the world itself is transforming and evolving with every passing moment. At this exhibition too, at times the exhibits reflect facts and reality, or give voice to a purpose, while at other moments it just celebrates the present.

This Biennale is mostly about an idea, where the material is a powerful medium of expression. The inventive use of materials to express an idea while playing with its strengths creates expansive, ingenious and successful forms of communication. In a cornucopia of materials, you experience a vast variety ranging from glass, bone, concrete, metal, wood, coffee and a whole lot of textile based works, apart from paintings, photographs and videos.


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No two people will experience the Biennale in the same manner. As I write, I realize that this exhibition is a laboratory of thought processes, in a way that unless you read about an artwork you are unable to enjoy it to the fullest. I feel that textual corroboration must not be essential for an artwork and a work should speak for itself. However, this may not always be possible.

I’m sharing with you a few works that really stood out for me.
Phyllida Barlow’s installation for the British Pavilion, ’Folly’ at Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
British artist Phyllida Barlow’s huge installation for the British Pavilion, ’Folly’ is densely packed, almost overflowing and dominating the space. It reminds us of how we often fail to comprehend the overwhelm that towering structures can create in an urban context. With its size and bold colours it challenges audiences to explore their own understanding of the sculpture.



 ‘It’s a forest’ - a solo exhibition by Takahiro Iwasaki at Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
Turned upside down, ‘It’s a forest’ - a solo exhibition by Takahiro Iwasaki at the Pavilion of Japan has wooden reflection models of Japanese temples. Mirrored upside down it recreates the presence of the water body on which the original building stands. It urges you to reflect upon a host of concepts of reality and ambiguity, and to me even virtual reality.
 ’Theatrum Orbis’ curated by Semyon Mikhailovsky at Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
’Theatrum Orbis’ curated by Semyon Mikhailovsky meaning ‘theatre of the world’ is truly theatrical in both its concept and form, bringing together sculpture, installation, video and sound at the Russian Pavilion. There are figures which express the contradictory nature of power, taking shape as mechanized hybrids- two headed birds. Sculptures of dolls, dummies and soldiers explore and narrate contemporary issues, including international terrorism. Impactful, it is designed in a way that every viewer is affected.
Gal Weinstein at Israel's pavilion at Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
At Israel’s pavilion, time stands still as a moment is encapsulated. Gal Weinstein has experimented with coffee, sugar, polyurethane, steel wool and graphite to discuss the relationship between creation and destruction, progress and devastation. Again, the scale of the installation creates a memorable experience. 
 Lorenzo Quinn near the Rialto Bridge at Venice Biennale, Image courtesy Shraddha Rathi, Art Scene India
In this group of creative thought processes and well executed works don’t miss the supporting hands created by artist Lorenzo Quinn near the Rialto Bridge. One of the many collateral events, this work creates a visual statement about the impact of climate change and the rising sea levels in the historic city of Venice.

The Venice Biennale, on till the November of 2017, coupled with the history and charm of the floating city of Venice makes it an unforgettable experience ever.
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About the Author: Shraddha Rathi is a contemporary artist based in Bangalore. She has a background in classical dance and architecture,which has contributed to her unique sense of aesthetics in visual arts.

All images are courtesy the writer

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