I was expecting the curator’s ideas of transience, instability and uncertainties to be translated into powerful works that directly engage with some of today’s most pressing and depressing concerns. I got very little of that. I got plenty of clouds (including a couple of atomic ones), foam, puddles, waves and fountains though.
Fortunately, the biennale also features a surprisingly high number of sound works, extraordinary visual and emotional experiences and, here and there, a couple of more politically-minded artworks
Pazugoo, a gooey, collectively modifiable uranium glow-stick waving Pazuzu, the Sumero-Asyrrian demon of contagion, epidemic and dust, is proposed as a marker for the presence of nuclear waste products
In 2007, three artists officially changed their names and adopted the one of Janez Janša, a very powerful, right-wing and generally unpleasant political figure embroiled in accusations of corruption and authoritarianism.
The administrative procedure not only turned their lives into a perpetual performance but it also altered their private, civil and artistic lives in ways they had not always foreseen
Alone or with the help of local communities, these artists have cleaned up polluted areas, planted wheat field, provided pollinators with colourful and appetizing flowery landscapes, built hanging and floating gardens, initiated edible and medicinal urban farms, developed schemes for sharing excess food and bred more resilient chicken breeds
Sholette lays out clear examples of art’s deep involvement in capitalism: the dizzying prices achieved by artists who pander to the financial elite, the proliferation of museums that contribute to global competition between cities in order to attract capital, and the strange relationship between art and rampant gentrification that restructures the urban landscape
Intuitively, we already know that the key to more unified societies lies in a mix of resistance, remembrance, borrowing from other cultures, dreams and empathy. Many of the artists in the show illustrate what happens when these abstract notions are turned into real life stories
Because it’s almost 40 degrees this week in Turin and i’m in a murderous mood, i’m going to split my review of the show into two parts. Today, you get the depressing bits and as soon as temperatures have cooled off a little, i’ll be back with the works that speak of solidarity, hope and compassion. It’s not all bad though because 1. i loved that show so much i visited it twice and 2. i’m going to open the quick gallery tour with one of my favourite artists