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Italy, Poland and Austria

From: Eva
Category: Art
Date: 17 June 2005


ITALY: It may be a bit confusing for the uninitiated but the Italian Pavilion actually contains an International group show, in a similar vein to the Arsenale, the ‘Italian Arch’ being Italy’s equivalent to a national pavilion in the Giardini. Italy chose four ‘young’ artists. The overall impression was pretty-pretty, featuring cute illustrational paintings of children, a leafy skeletal space pod and a peep-box style room containing a scene of mock Venetian decay á la Fragonard meets Balthus. Italy also had various ’special projects’ dotted about the Giardini including Fabrizio Plessi’s ‘Mare verticale’, a huge steel phallus with inbuilt plasma screens that stood at the entrance to the Giardini and lit up at night.

POLAND: Artur Zmijewski’s film, ‘Repetition’, apparently replicates the famous psychology experiment wherein volunteers role-played prison guards or inmates, revealing the speed with which we humans slip into sadism. We didn’t see the video as it lasted 45 minutes and had a strict start time.

AUSTRIA: At every biennale there are a number of artists who attempt to transform the Pavilion itself into something unrecognizable. If there was a prize for that, this year it would go to Hans Schabus for his transformation of the Austrian pavilion into a mountain. You enter the ‘pavilion’ from the back door and work your way up an impressive timber structure (once more we smell freshly shaved wood) to the peak of the mountain, where you can pop your head out of a window to be afforded a pleasant view of the Giardini. The experience of entering this mountain was fun and there were multiple routes up to the pinnacle, with flaps that could be raised to peep out en route. Not the deepest work in the Giardini but certainly the highest.

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