Biennale for Beginners #2

June 30, 2017

Plenty of free art around the outside of the Biennale, including some amazing pieces of canter-levered stone sculptures (hard to photograph), and the fabulous King Kong Rhino by Shih Li-Jen were highlights. While reading reviews of the pavilions is not a bad idea, sometimes just walking in can be a great delight.


Video art was a dominant theme, with some making better connections than others. The Spanish Pavilion was about the nomadic way of life. If the theme was hard to grasp, the representations of modern housing were great.

The ceiling of the Central Pavilion is glorious, and while some of the installations were underwhelming, the books by Geng Jianyi were beautiful.


For sheer craft and vision though, the multilayered drawings by Ciprian Muresan (pictured below) were possibly best in show. Up close they were incredibly detailed, while further away they had amazing scope in their depiction of classic art works. Edi Rama's beautiful hand drawn wallpaper was also a triumph.

The Israel pavilion was the first of a number of immersive exhibitions where science and construction were key to the delivery of the experience. Like the French ‘studio’, no graphic or verbal description will do them justice.


Germany was perhaps the most startling and confronting, where performance art leaves viewers feeling not just involved, but implicated.

If there is a prize for best pavilion building, then Hungary must be a contender, with its glorious ceramic tiles and great Buda style roof.

Both Egypt and Greece had compelling local stories to tell, where audio visual skills were used to great effect, but where the audience needed to make up their own minds on the outcome.

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