Elsewhere / Places / Russia / Turkey

A Russian Look Around Venice

We can’t get enough of Venice! Every second year at the beginning of summer the art community from all over the world gathers in Venice to see the very best – and maybe also the worst – of art at the biennale. And so do I. Here is an insight into the national pavilions of Austria, Georgia, Germany, and of course Russia…

The Russian Pavilion is presented by Vadim Zakharov and curated by Udo Kittelmann. Vadim Zakharov’s installation “Danaë” turns around the ancient Greek myth and unites the upper and lower floors of the pavilion into a single project – a first in the building’s history. For my taste, the installation is brilliant and clear. And the funny thing about it is that Russians usually don’t like everything made by Russians. But not in this case – I’ve only heard positive responses on the project. And I want to reveal a secret to you – we’re almost sure that we could be awarded the best pavilion this year!

The Austrian Pavilion is presented by Vienna-born, Los Angeles-based artist Mathias Poledna with the three-minute-long cartoon “Imitation of Life”, which was produced by Tony Bancroft, whose animation credits include, among others, “The Lion King”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Aladdin”. And I agree with my friend Anastasia Barysheva, editor-in-chief of Blouin Artinfo, Russia, who said: “At first sight it is a short, funny movie, but when you watch it you realize that it was preceded by extensive research. It is fantastic and well-timed as it examines the interconnections between art and entertainment and the language of film and the process of image-making in culture.”

The Georgian Pavilion is curated by Joanna Warsza and presents works by the Bouillon Group, Thea Djordjadze, Nikoloz Lutidze, Gela Patashuri with Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin, and Gio Sumbadze
. In 2013 the pavilion takes the form of a “kamikaze loggia” – a self-initiated building form typical in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. During the preview days, the Bouillon Group performed “religious aerobics” outside the pavilion on daily basis, with particular movements of the three religions of the world: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism transformed into aerobics.

Four international artists from four different countries were invited to contribute to the presentation at the German Pavilion: Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh. Curated by Susanne Gaensheimer, the pavilion’s investigation demands time and a willingness to focus, not only because you have to stand in line for a few hours before entrance but also because the works presented by the artists challenge the notion of an unambiguous biography and specific national or cultural identity.


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