Venice Biennale seeks to capture the "unruly" world of art

Wed May 29, 2013 12:13pm EDT
 
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By Isla Binnie

LONDON (Reuters) - Blocks of ice from the Bahamas, cardboard bed clothes from Iraq and a thumping Vatican heartbeat will help the 2013 Venice Biennale attempt to capture the "unruly" world of art.

The rich diversity of unexpected sights and sounds at the world's largest non-commercial art exhibition are partly a result of sheer numbers, with shows from 88 countries installed across the canal city in time for this week's opening.

More than 150 artists are taking part in the Biennale, which has been running since 1895 and continues to attract artists, art-lovers and collectors from across the planet to Venice.

"Every two years we try to capture the world - and then the world is unruly," Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni told Reuters.

Ten countries - including the Vatican and the Bahamas - are participating for the first time this year with their own dedicated pavilions in a fair that runs until November.

"The national pavilions are fantastic because they give us a glimpse of the diversity of the world...a world of exceptions," said Gioni.

The Holy See's pavilion, in the Arsenale or old shipyard site, is a far cry from the Renaissance masterpieces of the Vatican.

While the three rooms are based on the relatively orthodox themes of "creation", "uncreation" and "recreation", the use of video and a pervasive thumping heartbeat soundtrack add a thoroughly modern element to the installation.   Continued...

 
A view of an installation as part of the "S.A.C.R.E.D" exhibition by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei during the 55th La Biennale of Venice, in the church of Sant'Antonin in Venice May 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini