Below are the pavillions I visited on 26 September 2019. I am still busy finishing the writing and comparing it with my notes and photos. I added the list in the meantime.

Switzerland

Their installation is called Moving Backwards – a video in an environment of a dance/night club the performers are dancing and moving, which suggest backward movements as a potential tool for producing alternative forms of resistance and action. There is also a ‘newspaper’ handed out for free, this is like an artist statement, but I read later: “free journal containing statements written by a dozen authors from the fields of philosophy, art, political activism, post-colonial and queer theories. The two artist letter is powerful: “……..women of the kurdish guerrillas wore their shoes the wrong way round to walk from one place in the snowy mountains to the other. this tactic saved their lives. it seems as if you are walking backwards, but actually you are walking forwards. or the other way around. Let’s take this story as a starting point for the project: can we use the tactical ambivalence of this movement as a means of coming together, re-organizing our desires, and finding ways of exercising freedoms? can its feigned backwardness even fight the notion of progress’s inevitability?”

Venezuala

The Venezuelan Pavilion failed to open its doors to the public during the preview days of Venice Biennale amongst the political turmoil that has taken over the country since the beginning of 2019. Unintentionally, the closed pavilion became a powerful metaphor for the devastating effect of twenty years of disastrous cultural policies in the country -not to mention numerous other government policies that have led to the current humanitarian crisis. This background I read after my visit, but it was important to take not of this situation. Natali Rocha had an installation

Russia

At the entrance one is confronted by casts of the legs of the Atlantes – the famous sculptures on the portico of the New Hermitage that have become one of the symbols of the museum. The exhibition derives its name from the Gospel of Luke, namely the ‘Parable of the Prodigal Son’ as well as the Rembrandt painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son. It is a visit to The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg who owns the Rembrandt painting. In the multi media film installation by film director Alexander Sokurov, represents one of the halls of the museum and an artist’s studio surrounded by the turmoil and war of the modern world. The colours are that of a brown monochrome study.

I decided to have a look at the Hermitage museum on the internet and I also contemplated how this installation showed out the role of the museum as a specific organism who lives according to its internal laws and its capability of creative actions that are impossible for its components – which are objects, people, buildings. The museum is a self-regulating living entity, capable of accepting or rejecting, of doing good and evil, loving and hating, teaching and punishing. The artist also has intention , he creates drama and emotion and asking the viewer to think and interpret his meaning in this work. In reading about why Rembrandts work is not in a sense very biblical I come to an understanding that Rembrandt as an artist could have done this work as a reference to self, or to give it real live resonance – the market determines what sells in art, and if a painting is linked with things we can interpret ( not removed from it) it could reach not only the viewer, but the buyer. Here is a human and moral story to find. I loved the long and big brushes that were left next to the work – as if it is a work in progress, also like to ourselves a human beings. There are sculptures of the same scene as on the painting in the exhibition. I see particular use of looking at these works within the context of my first assignment – one of the exercises was to look at tonal studies on transparent ground – I need to learn more about the use of imprimatura as a ground for oil painting.

Nordic Countries

United States

Israel

Poland

Serbia

Romania

Austria

Spain

Belgium

Egypt

Main Pavillion

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