Carl Jung, from the “Red Book”, Venice Biennale


“The Encyclopedic Palace”, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, is the key exhibition of the Biennale. The first section is located in the Central Pavilion within the Giardini, where I began the day. The exhibition is essentially about the impossible dream of universal knowledge. From the opening installation of Carl Jung’s illustrated manuscript, “Red Book”, to the riveting performance piece created by Tino Sehgal, artists grapple with ways to reconcile the self with the universe. Whether the source is the personal internal or the social external, images are the vehicle of communication.

Gioni asks: What room is left for inner images in an era besieged and obsessed by external ones? What do we see with our eyes closed? How can images help us understand ourselves and the world around us?

Kimsooja at the Korean Pavilion, Venice Biennale

These questions and ideas reverberate throughout Gioni’s show as well as in the international pavilions. Imagined or actual systems of organization and ways of being generated through history, politics, and nature are dominant themes. They may be light-hearted as In Jeremy Deller’s serving tea in the Great Britain pavilion or heavy-handed as the depiction of fired but unexploded bombs in the Hungarian pavilion.

Ai Weiwei in the German Pavilion, Venice Biennale

Sarah Sze at American Pavilion, Venice Biennale

Sarah Sze won my admiration with her complex and magical pieces in the American Pavilion. Other favorite pavilions included Kimsooja for Korea; Koki Tanaka for Japan; Anri Sala in the French Pavilion; the German Pavilion featuring four artists including Ai Weiwei and Vadim Zakharov for Russia.

Installation of Arte Povera and Mono-ha works at Punta Della Dogana, Venice

After four hours in the Giardini, it was off to the world of Francois Pinault, whose uber-collection now fills the Punta Della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi. The highlight at the Dogana for me is the room that juxtaposes emblematic work from the Italian Art Povera artists with those of the Japaneses movement, Mono-ha. Pinault often buys his favorite artists in depth such as an entire room of Mark Grotjahn or key pieces by Adel Abdessemed, among many others of note.

Rudolph Stingel at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice

The Palazzo Grassi features a one-person show for Rudolph Stingel. Based on the pattern of an oriental rug, Stingel completely carpeted the walls and floors of the atrium and upper levels of the museum. A single painting from a selection of both abstract and representational work hangs within each room. My favorite was his haunting portrait of the late Franz West.

One Response to “VENICE, GIARDINI, JUNE 6”

  1. linda maggard Says:

    would love to get together before I plan my trip to Venice. your coverage is excellent!
    Teri Kennady wants to join us soon.

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