Date: 13 September 2005
Good to see a show once the glitter has been blown away by the Sahara winds. See if the wear and tear, and icecream tears of a thousand tourists tramping has made a diamond with the city of Venezia's stately sparkle or left a threadbare red carpet covering a concrete floor.
This year two spanish curators present a Biennale titled at its dual locations "always a little further" and " the experience of art". The release to the press, sewage as always polluting our grand canals (brains), contains one's favourite phrases about openness, challenge, multiple viewpoints etc ad nauseam. I quote: "more similar to a centre for experimentation than a stack of certainties".
A stack of shit? Of course not. We are presented with an exhaustive survey of the creme de la creme of the international group who work in the contemporary style. A smorgas board of the criterionless. A sickening cocktail of paint, cheap wood, projections, words, charades, snapshots. A buffet where each snack has the heaviness of suet. Cram in all the genius of todays art world into the most beautiful city on earth, and it will eat it alive, pausing only for the daintiest of burps.
In Venice every restaurant serves overpriced shit meals to tourists, and it doesn't matter because they will keep coming back. In Venice all the icecream cones with one scoop cost one euro. Metaphors. Non!
This is the biennale: A pavillion of modern exactitude contains on the floor some planks and other building materials arranged to suggest some other object, on the wall is a photo of architecture, and there is a drawing too with words,ideas labelled. Next is a film playing a documentary about eskimos or a harbour. There may be music or some activity through which the spectator can become a participant. Another pavillion has been demolished with great care, and turned into a wall of bricks. In some there are conventionally exhibited paintings or photos by eminences in the field. Walking through one has no way of deciding whether to prefer the environments that stimulate directly, the ones with darkness, mazes, flashing lights. Or to like those that provocatively undernourish, the collections of shy objects ad scrappy images. One is only certain that nothing even a scratch on the mind, let alone the memory of astonishing beauty or new ideas. The Biennale, and all contemporary art, takes as it credo a crude relativism which produces art which only ever denies that it can be rejected, whatever lies old artists told themselves they worked, and the new, hating novelty beauty intelligence, favouring craft, obscurity and repetition, is a a sad summing up of what the world's greatest artists can produce. Art has uninvented itself. or to put it simply, art committed suicide and noone can smell the rotting corpse in a rotten world.[_shared_elements/comment_on_this_review.htm]