WHAT I LIKED AT VENICE BIENNALE 2022

My favorite National Pavilions: Poland: Polish Roma artist Malgorzata Mirga-Tas – she has covered the walls of the pavilion with tapestries that pay homage to individual pioneering Roma women. The works are inspired by old and newer stories of the Roma community, including her family members, the culture, traditions and myths.

USASimone Leigh – her several monumental-scale bronze and clay Brick House series of sculptures depict stylized black women in a way which amalgamates bodies with architectural and culturally potent objects and forms references, borrowing their styles from various African countries. Alternately registering as a vessel, a space of comfort, and a sanctuary, the sculptures powerfully portray the black woman’s body as a site of multiplicity.

Belgium: Francis Alÿs focuses on a theme of children at play as a metaphor for a creative relationship with the world. The multimedia installation in the pavilion includes large-screen videos recorded by the artist’s children playing in the public spaces, and several small-scale paintings with the similar subject.

The International Pavilion – The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani is an expansive and very engaging journey through Surrealism which includes both contemporarily created as well as older artworks from the turn of the century (19th/20th). The curator has invited over 200 artists, the vast majority are women, to feature their artwork in the International Pavilion of the Giardini. Several collateral events of the 59th international Art Exhibition, The Milk of Dreams La Biennale di Venezia, take place throughout the city. I’ve managed to see a few of them during my short visit: I very much enjoyed the exhibition or new works by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi at Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, presented by Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro. Curated by Daniela Ferretti and Darin Hart, the selection of works include large-scale paintings and sculptures, simple geometric forms of spheres and blocks, stacks of ‘clay-brick-sculptures; all executed with raw natural materials, one of the signature media for Mr.Sodi.

For the works in the exhibition, the pigment was derived from cochineal, which historically used to be an international standard for red colour used in paints and fabric dyes. The exhibition titled What Goes Around Comes Around is a nod to a trade history between Europe and Americas. Sodi attempts to reverse the one-way ancient flow of the trade with his works temporary occupying the Palazzo’s walls and floors. Through their linkage to the material instinct they are produced with, the artist suggest a ‘revenge’ of all that is raw. On view through November 27th, 2022. I was lucky to enter without a lengthy wait in a queue the Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at The Gallerie dell’Academia di Venezia. Curated by Taco Dinbbits, art historian and Director of the Rijks museum in Amsterdam, the exhibition presents a wide range of both new and older works, paintings and sculptures characterized by heavy textures and rich pigments of red and black.

The selection includes bodies of the artist’s early pigment sculptures and highly anticipated and never-seen-before forms created with a ground-breaking nano-technology material which absorbs more than 99.9% of visible light, the Kapoor Black. The new works that are either free-standing or embedded in the walls of several galleries, mysteriously appear and disappear before ones’ eyes. Through them, Kapoor invites us to explore the darkness as both physical and psychic reality. The viewer dives into discoveries of the sculptural form on a new, radical level; as well as into the psychological and illusionistic aspects of our mind and eye.

Written By Kasia Kay 

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