Friday, 12 October 2007

La Biennale di Venezia

I was in Venice last week. My mother was keen to check out the 52nd Biennale di Venezia so I thought I'd join her.
There's not that much of Venice left to like anymore. It is squirming with tourists. And the locals have subsequently become rather unpleasant to anyone who does not speak Italian. I will not (if I can help it) return there in the future.

However, we did see and hear ( I was dragged along to a couple of concerts too) some amazing contemporary art.

It's not that I dislike contemporary art, it's more a case of me liking other stuff more.
And I can safely say that a good 70% of what I saw was not my cup of tea. Some were even totally disturbing. I was surprised to see the subject of war used in many instances.
But a few pieces really caught my eye.

The French pavilion was decorated by Sophie Callé.
Her piece was called "Prenez Soin de Vous" meaning "Take care of yourself".

The idea was based on a letter she received one day, from her then boyfriend. He was breaking up with her.
She came up with the idea of asking a number of women (107 to be exact) to interpret the letter according to their respective jobs.
A proofreader, a judge, a rapper, a sexologist, an sms translator, a Bahrata Natyam dancer... there's even an entry in braille. (And a couple of famous faces too!)

I could have sat in that pavilion reading for hours if found it so brilliant, but we had lots more to see so I settled on buying the book which brings together all interpretations. It now sits on my coffee table.

Slightly outside a main exhibit, next to the french pipi rooms, was a setup promoting Bagdad as a holiday destination under the name of Abidin Travels. (The website reminds me of the fake Oceanic website when Lost first started).

The flyers and videos on display in Venice were hilarious and dig into the website a bit and you'll see what I mean.

"Getting Around while you are in Baghdad

Car rental

BE ADVISED that when driving, you must be actively aware of your surroundings and always check your rear-view mirror. The American military has the right to shoot or drive over cars with their tanks if they think you are blocking the way."

Here's a short video clip that I filmed while there.

Artwork & Concept © 2007
Adel Abidin

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