La Biennale Venezia

Running for over 120 years (since 1895), La Biennale Venezia is one of the most indulgent and cultural organisations there is.

This prestigious celebration of art pre-dates a lot of music, architecture and cinema festivals – including the first film festival ever to be established (Venice Film Festival, 1932).

For those who don’t know much about this extraordinary event, it is made up of three main sectors.

-       The Pavilion Exhibits, each curated and themed individually.

-       The International Exhibit, curated by the official Biennale Curator who is chosen specifically for this coveted role.

-       Collateral events which include educational activities and guided tours. All of which are approved by the official Biennale Curator.

If you are an art lover, Art Biennale will be on your bucket-list!

The 57th Art Biennale kicked off on 13th May and will run until 26th November.

It takes place across the Arsenale (a complex of former shipyards and armories) and Giardini Pavilions and is curated by Christine Macel, with the title ‘Viva Arte Viva’. It features an incredible collection of artists from 89 countries and draws the attention of well over 500,000 people worldwide.

With thousands of art lovers flocking to Venice and documenting their trip via. social media it is easier than ever to catch a glimpse of the exhibits!

We’ve put together our favourite installations from Art Biennale 2017 for you to enjoy; starting with Damien Hirst's aptly named “Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable”.

Hirst’s comeback exhibit is installed across not one, but two venues (Punta della Dogana & Palazzo Grassi) and is rumoured to be the most expensive ever to have graced Biennale.

Always one to spark controversy, Hirst has already been hit by Animalisti (animal rights group) who dumped 40kg of animal faeces outside of the Palazzo Grassi, with the blunt message “Damien Hirst Go Home!”. Feathers obviously still ruffled over his previous works, they were later informed that no animals feature in this particular exhibit.

There has been an awful lot of secrecy surrounding “Treasures’ and critics were on the edge of their seats. Whether or not this astonishing exhibition, which has been five years (and a fortune) in the making, repairs Hirst’s reputation is yet to be seen. Hirst probably isn’t bothered either way.

Exploring his lifelong love of the ocean and merging fact with fiction; the show supposedly showcases sunken “Treasures” from the sea bed. The reality of this being uncertain as Hirst reports that the exhibit is “all about what you want to believe”.

Whatever the reception, here at Red Propeller we believe that Hirst’s investment in this exhibit is a grand reminder that he truly believes in his work. Surely the sign of a brilliant artist?

Another exhibit that has left us totally enthralled is Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn’s giant installation outside the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, entitled ‘Support’.

These powerful hands appear to be emerging from the water and bracing the hotel with subtle strength. A silent commentary on the fragility of our built environment.

Quinn is well known for using limbs in his work - specifically hands; symbolic of the great power humankind holds and the existential struggle we face regarding climate change/global warming.

‘I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body. the hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy’ - Lorenzo Quinn

Perhaps one we will continue to ponder in uncertainty, is Anne Imhof’s hostile “Faust” exhibit in the German pavilion.

A strange and unnerving live performance, during which there is an overriding sense that power/authority lurks somewhere, unseen. Featuring people moving silently through the audience with a background of heavy metal music; the bizzare behaviour of these performers is enough to leave the viewer unsettled and pose urgent questions regarding our human blend with technology and media. The performance both captures this and simultaneously protests against it.

“Anne Imhof confronts the brutality of our time with a hard realism”. - Susanne Pfeffer, curator of the German Pavilion Biennale 2017.

It was a bold choice from Pfeffer, but one that nonetheless continues to put humankind under scrutiny. After all, one of our most beautiful qualities is the ability to question ourselves. To act with considered purpose. This seems to be reflected throughout the installations at Biennale 2017, as art continues to comment loudly on our environment, our communities and our state of mind. 

What did you make of La Biennale Venezia 2017?