Performance, sculpture, restoration of the past: there are so many topics at the 57th Venice Art Biennale (ends on November 26, 2017), so much food for thought and art to admire. We’ve selected the 2017 Biennale’s top eight artists, for you to enjoy with all the rest during your Venetian holiday.
Anne Imhof, Germany Pavilion: working with a team of performers, the artist has turned the German Pavilion into a live show (titled “Faust”), integrating painting, sculpture and installation with live performances. The pavilion has thus become a safe place, protected by steel fences and Dobermans, where in four hours several performances are run.
Carol Bove, Teresa Hubbard and Alex Birchler, Switzerland Pavilion: an installation to honor Alberto Giacometti, one of the greatest Swiss artists of the 20th century – though he never represented his country at the Venice Biennale. Hubbard and Birchler have presented their film installation “Flora”, inspired by Flora Mayo, an American artist and Giacometti’s lover. On the side, Carol Bove presents some new, contemporary sculptures inspired by Giacometti’s constellations of figures.
Sam Gilliam, Pavilion of Artists and Books: at the entrance of this pavilion you’ll find the artwork by Color Field painter Sam Gillian, titled “Yves Klein Blue”, a canvas dyed in the spirit of Gilliam’s early works. A colorful and cheerful draping that perfectly embodies the spirit of “Viva Arte Viva!” (the title chosen for the 57th Biennale).
Olafur Eliasson, Giardini Pavilion: among the Biennale’s top artists you’ll obviously find Olafur Eliasson, presenting a workshop about immigration. Countries that are dealing with significant migration flows, such as Nigeria, Gambia, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and China, participate in this project by making sustainable green lamps designed by the artist. These (beautiful) lamps will be then sold for €250 each, and the proceeds will be donated to the refugees.
Edith Dekyndt, Arsenale pavilion: prepare to discover the hypnotic beauty of gesture with Belgian artist Edith Dekyndt, who presents a charming visual and gestural performance. An illuminated carpet of dust, surrounded by darkness, is constantly swept by a broom in a way that particles of dust remain always lit: beauty is simple.
Mark Bradford, USA Pavilion: one of the most iconic abstract painters of our time, Mark Bradford, presents “Tomorrow is another day”, an installation that forces visitors to enter a confined and stifling room and to navigate around its outer perimeter, in order to reach the other four rooms (including a “cave” forcing people to “shrink” themselves) displaying the rest of Bradford’s works. The message is clear: times are tough and social gap is increasing.
Maria Lai, Pavilion of the Common (Arsenale): it’s always a pleasure to see Maria Lai’s works, that’s why you should check them at the Arsenale pavilion: you’ll find her Looms, sewn books and, especially, “Bind to the mountain”, a video about the 1981 collective performance in which Maria Lai and her village (Ulassai) inhabitants tied together the houses of the village and the mountain above these with blue ribbons.
Julian Charrière, Earth Pavilion (Arsenale): after shocking Venice in 2012 by dying the pigeons of Piazza Dan Marco, Charrière – a former student of Olafur Eliasson – returns to the Laguna with his “Future Fossil Spaces” exhibition and presents a poetic and dystopian archeology, such as the wonderful towers of salt bricks, from Argentina, encrusted with lithium, the “material of the future”.