Once upon a time, a couple of days were enough to inspect the Venice Biennale. Now for immersion in the art world you need to have a map and a week of free time.
On the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where the Giardini Gardens are located, there is very little space and a lot of people who want to take part in the most prestigious event of modern art. In the two years that have passed since the last biennale, there have been more national pavilions (even Scotland now has a pavilion!), Art sites have disappeared among the streets and canals – in the palazzo, hotels, churches and even gates. This year, Arsenale Novissimo, a fabulous bay with brick hangars and a real submarine lost among bushes and trees, became part of the biennale. Arsenale Novissimo could only be reached by sea taxi or scheduled boats from Arsenale Nuovo. Visiting the exhibitions was a non-stop adventure, and daily mini-floods added some romance: girls defile knee-deep in water and Christian Louboutin sandals in their hands,
The morning at Giardini began with a jog: even slightly sleepy art lovers and professionals, regardless of ranks and regalia, raced to the British pavilion to get (“one on hand!”) Their free ticket to a screening session of Steve McQueen, telling about life “Giardini” in the winter. The line, as an element of the exposition, flaunted at the pavilions of the USA and France. A stream of people moved from the people to the pavilions of Denmark and the Netherlands, which the design duo Elmgirn and Dragset turned into houses whose owners died. The Russian pavilion turned out to be the most ambiguous: instead of a mono-exhibition, we presented 7 various works-attractions. While the curator of the pavilion Olga Sviblova conducted excursions (to Abramovich-Zhukova, Doronin-Cambell), everyone was discussing the blood-oil “Nika” by Andrei Molodkin: the artist added an inscription that the oil supposedly Chechen, and blood – Chechen soldiers. The curators did not like populism, and the inscriptions were removed, but this work was most often mentioned in foreign reviews.
The Gongi Ostretsov attraction – either a communal apartment, or a horror cave, or an artist’s workshop – attracted guests more than once. The sketches of the utopian cities of Pavel Papperstein looked good under rap, the author-artist of which was the artist himself. Russian speech sounded rhythmically and loudly in another part of the gardens, where in the picturesque ruins of the Stella Art Foundation held poetry contests: young Russian poets read poetry exaltedly, and artists (for example, Anya Zholud) painted.