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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

A Review of ILLUMinations at the Arsenale, Venice Biennale 2011: part two

My second review of highlights from ILLUMinations at the Arsenale includes art by Nicholas Hlobo, Mariana Castillo Deball, Urs Fischer and Monica Bonvicini.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Nicholas Hlobo
Here’s my second half of a round up of the best art that I found at the ILLUMinations exhibition at the Arsenale, more about part of the 54th Venice Biennale.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Nicholas Hlobo
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Nicholas Hlobo
Nicholas Hlobo‘s massive Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela skull, more about rubber, viagra approved tyre, leather and ribbon installation was one of my favourite pieces at the Arsenale. This vast sculpture refers to South African myths and in particular the vampire bird of Xhosa folk songs. Spooky, enigmatic and affecting.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Mariana Castillo Deball
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Mariana Castillo Deball
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Mariana Castillo Deball
I also really liked the work of Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball. Having studied ancient Aztec manuscripts, she has reproduced her interpretation in the form of a long script, re-imagining their long lost meanings.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Fabian Marti
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Fabian Marti
Fabian Marti has built a huge structure from boxes of plywood, stacked with curiously relaxed ceramic incense holders. Visitors enter a cave inside to witness a trance like video of the sun shining through trees in India. Sun Oh! was inspired by Brion Gysin‘s experimental hallucinations brought on by light flickering through trees.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Urs Fischer
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Urs Fischer
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Urs Fischer
We were all captivated by Urs Fischer‘s Untitled – a huge wax installation which has been slowly burning to the ground as the Biennale progresses. The decapitated head of a man lies on the floor at the foot of a disintegrating chair – a truly grotesque vision that is also curiously humorous.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Corinne Wasmuht
Corinne Wasmuht paints huge pieces that straddle the worlds of reality and fiction. Her pixelated artwork Bibliotheque CDG BSL offers a dreamlike experience to viewers, who recognise in its blinding colours the brightness of a digital screen.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-josh smith
Josh Smith displays a huge collage of artwork that would not look out of place pasted on to a wall on a side street off Brick Lane.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Giulia Piscitelli
Giulia Piscitelli‘s long skeins of iridescent silk, Spica (2011), are painted with bleach to create intricate bone like patterns. Beautiful – and perfect for a corporate environment.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Klara Liden
Klara Liden has made an installation of garbage cans, which are hung against artfully peeling brick walls. By displaying the most banal of street furniture as art she aims to make viewers question their aesthetic tastes.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Monica Bonvicini
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Monica Bonvicini
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Monica Bonvicini
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Monica Bonvicini
The final room of this section presents the work of Monica Bonvicini, who has been very vocal about what she thinks of the circus that is the Biennale and in fact the art world in general. She only agreed to be involved in this years show if she could make an installation that questioned the vacuousness of it all. Thus her huge room is dominated with a series of staircases to nowhere. Suitably powerful and dramatic.

Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Arsenale
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Arsenale
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Arsenale
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-Arsenale
Venice Biennale 2011 Swatch review-The Geppetto Pavilion
Outside Loris Gréaud has planted a life size replica of a beached whale, which lies gasping on a pile of sand. The Geppetto Pavilion takes its name from the story of Pinocchio, who is swallowed by Monstro the whale. It is a strange and unlikely thing to encounter amongst the cranes and docks of the old Arsenale.

The Venice Biennale continues until the 27th November 2011. Don’t forget to look at part one of my review.

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