Sunday, October 20, 2013

Venice Biennale 2013

The centre piece of the Biennale was The Encyclopedic Palace -as the catalogue explains it.... ' in 1955 a self taught American artist Marino Auriti filed a design  with the US patent office depicting his Palazzo Enciclopedia an imaginary museum that was meat to house all worldy knowledge... from the wheel to the satellite"
He worked on a model of the palace -  which was to take up over 16 blocks in Washington DC-  in his garage in the middle of the Pennsylvania country side for many years.

So we found that as we viewed the biennale, that many works were those of obsessive 'amateurs' (as well as established artists) creating works to make sense of their inner or outer worlds.

The first work we encountered was attributed to the artist Oliver Croy and architect Oliver Elser. The work  was a display of 387 model buildings they found in a junk shop - created in fact by an Austrian  insurance clerk Peter Fritz. A 'near encyclopedic inventory of provincial architecture' and a miniature production of the world, 'built perhaps so that its maker could better appreciate [the world] through his imaginative creation" 

The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz (1916- 2008)

Venice Biennale 2013 - photography

The theme of lifelong dedication to cataloging through art was clear in the work of 
J. D. ’Okhai Ojeikere (b 1930 Nigeria). He produced over 5,000 images of the hairstyles and head wrappings of Nigerian women -starting  an the late 60's. An excellent summary of it is here

There was an amusing collection by Linda Fregni Nagler of amateur and commercial photogapghs from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection on show was called Hidden Mother and consists of nearly 1,000 original images of babies being held by figures who are hidden but visible in the background.
Further information here
Here are two of our favoutites

The work (below) by  Laurie Simmons and Allan McCollum  The Actual Photos 1985 was intriguing. 
The figures that were photographed were model railroad figures no bigger than a worn down eraser.
A link to Laurie Simmons' website is here

These images collected by Norbert Ghisoland (1878 - 1939) were very moving - see more about him here.
In short, he was Belgian, and worked as a photographer in a coal mining area of Belgium and he left behind 90,000 photographs - on glass plates! Here are some examples from the exhibition.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Venice Biennale 2013 - abstract concepts

 Another strand in the theme of the bienniale apart from obsessively cataloging the real world, was the attempt by artists and non artists to obsessively represent the world of abstract concepts and supernatural phenomena.
This was clear in the work of Augustin Lesage below. He created over 800 works between 1911 and 1952 after he heard voices while he was working in a mine. 

The voices were those of Leonardo da Vinci, his sister etc and they guided his hand in his painting. These were HUGE works - his first work was 9 square meters.

One of the the center pieces of the beinnale was The Red book by Carl Jung - a 205-page manuscript written and illustrated by Jung between approximately 1914 and 1930.  During the sixteen years he worked on the book, Jung developed his theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and individuation.
The book is written in calligraphic text and contains many illuminations many of which were on display.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A favourite work at the Venice Biennale

Lawrence Carroll's work at the Vatican City Pavilion  Creation was one of our favourite works.
The artist was born in Australia, raised in the US and lives in Venice........

The works are large and very striking. There is an interesting  interview here with the artist.

Venice Biennale - 2103 other favourites

In no particular order these were some works that we enjoyed....

Tacita Dean's TheFriar's Doodle a very beautiful video mediation on a drawing by a young friar  - more information here

Thierry de Cordier Mer Montee - oil. enamel and Chinese ink on canvas