The Venice Biennale officially opened to the public on June 1, which means the VIP crowd was long gone by the time the common people were able to take a look at the much written about works from artists all over the globe.
“Far from inaugurating, Venice crowns a career,” Chris Sharp writes in ArtReview. While it was true that Ai Weiwei, Jeremy Deller, and other big name artists were visible this year, the most interesting works on view were arguably by lesser-known artists like Marya Kazoun, Zanele Muholi and Tavares Strachan.
In addition, Ahmet Güneştekin’s exhibition “Momentum of Memory” stood across from the compelling Catalonia Pavilion that dealt with unemployment among a quarter of the population in northern Spain. But Güneştekin’s piece stuck with us, though Catalan’s message was a worthy one.
For the past decade, Güneştekin has been unable to travel outside of Turkey, and “Momentum” examines this idea of the rigidity of national identity through a series of thought-provoking and absurd videos. “If you come from a people that is oppressed and marginalized, you try that much harder to make yourself heard and understood,” the artist told Susan Gusten at the New York Times last year.
Another work that wasn’t associated with the Biennale but was very much attended by the Biennale crowd was Rudolf Stingel’s buzzed-about exhibition at Palazzo Grassi. The artist took over three stories — 5,000 square meters – of the interior of the historic building, covering the walls and floor with a hypnotizing plush carpet print. While there, we saw Eva and Adele, the iconic art couple who first took their “living work of art” to the Biennale in 1990. We all agreed the space was remarkable.
See a slideshow of the Biennale below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.