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The Venice Biennale 2001

From: R. Scholl
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 12 June 2001


The Venice Biennale 2001 see for opening hours

The art world is small enough to a fit into a medium sized chunk of Venice. It is not ugly enough to destroy Venice’s thrilling beauty, but neither does it offer an aesthetic viewpoint like the overage American and French tourists who fill the streets and their leisure travel clothes.

Szeemann, the Biennale’s director decided to fill nearly the entire Arsenale with black containers of dead videos. In and out you go, dark spaces with loud noises and painful images, the ever-present fear of tripping and breaking your ankle in pursuit of something entertaining in these dead-ends. Fear of death or injury haunts you here. Serra’s rusty spirals may fall over and crush you, and for what, another prick of pleasure from the phenomenon of the big altered environment. A cruddy theme park thrill.

Like Atom Egoyan’s toenail clippings to mouth video where you are forced to stand practically nose to screen, with a pretentious whiny voice filling your head, the most you can hope for is nausea. Or Ron Muck’s very obvious dolls, or Chris Cunningham’s very obvious films, or somebody’s very obvious photographs, installation, or poster. It all stinks of boredom and a lost art world.

Back in the sunshine on the Grand Canal the air is fresh off the water. The Biennale hope is always to bump into someone famous or useful, and avoid boring acquaintances. But they are the same people mostly. Maybe in the national pavilions you will find something better. Luc Tuymans in Belgium, Cy Twombly and Gerhard Richter in Italy, our great painters make you remember why they replaced painting with video. Everything is phenomenon, something big or strange, or ideas of too little intelligence expressed with poverty.

You eat an ice-cream of two scoops of melting lemon and melon. I cannot remember much else. The Biennale was filled with rooms saying blah, blah, blah, blah.

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