All posts tagged: Beijing

0907 Feels Like “The Radiant Child” in Beijing

0907 Feels Like “The Radiant Child” in Beijing

The resonance of Brooklyn/New York Street Arist Jean Michel Basquiat continues to amaze us, in his reach, in his relevance to people who he may have never imagined that he would inspire. Today we bring you 0907 in Beijing, who is telling us that he went on many spots throughout the city with his new cardboard composite work – a stencil that captures his feeling about an artist on the other side of the world who lived and died, perhaps before he was born. As an additional cultural mashup, he employs the vocabulary of a secondary Street Art, Shepard Fairey.

And Mickey Mouse for good measure.

0907. Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)

“One day I watched a movie called “Basquiat,” he tells us, “and another called is ‘Ridiculous Years’ I had some insight into the age of his life. So I made a poster which borrowed Obey’s style.and I posted these on my city. At that moment I felt I am the radiant child in my city.”

0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
0907 Radiant Child. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)
Please follow and like us:
Read more
Artist 0907 Pays Tribute to Hongshen Jia in Beijing, China.

Artist 0907 Pays Tribute to Hongshen Jia in Beijing, China.

Wandering along a footpath under the elevated street in Beijing these days you are likely to find the same sort of graffiti tags, wildstyle burners and stenciled celebrities that you discover in so-called Western city graffiti/Street Art scenes.

Of course the language and tags are likely in Chinese and the honored pop culture figures are more likely to be Chinese film stars, like this new digitized stencil by Street Artist 0907 of Hongshen Jia (贾宏声).

0907. Hongshen Jia. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)

“He is my favorite Chinese film actor and he is a legendary actor in China,” the artist tells us. On the Wikipedia page about the actor it says, “His performances were praised by critics and he developed a rebellious image that made him popular among artistic youth and the “Sixth Generation” of Chinese directors.[1][2]” Struggling with addiction many times, he took his own life in 2010 and he is also slowly transforming into a kind of folk hero for some.

0907. Hongshen Jia. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)

0907. Hongshen Jia. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)

0907. Hongshen Jia. Beijing, China. (photo © 0907)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Robbbb and Spidey Question Idealized Heroes in Beijing

Robbbb and Spidey Question Idealized Heroes in Beijing

A few new painted wheat-pastes in the urban rubble from Street Artist ROBBBB in Beijing, China today, including this thoughtful, reflective and paunchy Spiderman who may not be able to scale walls quite as readily as he has in the past.

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

It almost looks like these superheroes are having various existential dillemas, ready to fly into a rage of frustration or simply break into hot firey tears. The whole infallibility thing is overrated anyway Spidey, we get what you are saying.

I’m trying to discuss the contradiction between the ideal and the reality from the point of view of human nature,” says ROBBBB, and that is a worthwhile pursuit. It may make you wonder why we need heroes in the first place and examine what need they are filling.

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb. Beijing, China. October 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
New ROBBBB Nude Figures Playing on Beijing Walls : Virtual & Candid

New ROBBBB Nude Figures Playing on Beijing Walls : Virtual & Candid

Beijing based Street Artist ROBBBB continues to bring people to the streets in his city by way of self portraits and art models. The immediacy of the selfie and photo apps has rather eclipsed the traditional methods of figurative presentation and the inclusion of cartoon characters tells you that ROBBBB is fully immersed in youth pop culture where it digital and virtual are easily intertwined with real life.

Oh Snap!

Robbbb Narrow Selfie 1 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

“I try to show the pain, conflict, struggle, loneliness and anxiety of Chinese young people in a absurd way,” he tells us, but many of these new images look like they depict a Millennial generation that is confident, bold, humorous, adventurous, unreserved. But that’s just on this side of the screen.

Here are three recent wheat-paste campaigns he made for abandoned Beijing buildings called “Narrow Selfie,” “Three Sisters”, and “Mr. Lee”. He gets extra points for placement, often in direct relationship to the man-made elements that are adjacent to his figures and by doing so, incorporating them into the overall  composition.

Robbbb Narrow Selfie 2 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Narrow Selfie 3 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Three Sisters 1. Detail. Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Three Sisters 1 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Three Sisters 2 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Three Sisters 3 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Mr. Lee 1 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb Mr. Lee 2 Beijing, China. March 2017. (photo © Robbbb)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
ROBBBB Displays His Body with “Selfie Forward” in Beijing

ROBBBB Displays His Body with “Selfie Forward” in Beijing

Filial piety (Xiao Jing) is one of the virtues of Confucian thought (孝): a love and respect for one’s parents and ancestors. In the West we talk of filial piety in the context of fraternal love, indeed all benevolent actions.

Street Artist ROBBBB in Beijing is contemplating, as most of us do in our 20s, what his connection is to his society and his family and ancestors especially as a representative of the future as well as the past. One aspect that stays more or less the same in every culture is what our bodies look like, even if our clothing and hairstyles are in a continuous evolution. Today our bodies are changing as well thanks to plastic surgery and additive technology.

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-2

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

With this essential self examination ROBBB brings it up to date with his own Street Art campaign called “Selfie foreward”, a series of painted portions of his own body wheat-pasted on the streets. He segments the view of his corpus, giving a closer examination of physical details down to the follicle texture, augmented by an abstractly patterned wrapping across the surface that looks like projected light waves or an ultra-thin metal-alloy plating of decorative skin. Perhaps ROBBBB is seeing himself as a cyborg of organic and biomechatronic body parts.

“This series is about my body,” ROBBBB says, “There is an old saying China that goes “Our bodies-to every hair and bit of skin – are received from our parents.” In any case, he says, with this very original take on the relatively modern selfie, “I’ve been thinking deeply about contradictions and conflicts between youth as a social group and my place in society.”

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-2a

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-5

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-4b

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-6

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-6a

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-1

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-1a

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-7

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

brooklyn-street-art-robbbb-beijin-china-06-16-web-7a

ROBBB “Selfie Forward” Beijing, China. May 2016. (photo © ROBBBB)

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Street Art From Beijing and Robbbb

Street Artist Robbbb has some new neighbors posted in his city of Beijing, the three thousand year old Chinese capital metropolis of 20.6 million people. By wheat-pasting these still frame figures of unromanticized men, women, and children back onto the street where they travel, Robbbb calls attention to the every day person, and by doing so, somehow exults them. It’s an ephemeral art, but it lasts a little longer than the momentary flash of a person passing by and it give Robbbb an opportunity to look at and contemplate the lives of people in his city  and perhaps to give them the equivalent of a visual “shout out”.

“No matter what nationality, what identity, what gender or what age, I like depicting  figures from the city,” says the artist of his work.

Robbbb (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb (photo © Robbbb)

Robbbb (photo © Robbbb)

 

 

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please follow and like us:
Read more

“NUART 2012” International Street Art Catalysts in Norway

“By far the best exhibition we’ve yet created,” says Martyn Reed, organizer of the Nuart 2012 street art festival as it draws to a close in Stavanger, Norway.  What’s left after two weeks of painting, panel discussions, and parties stands on it own; The Art.

On old factory buildings, bricked stairways, in labyrinthine tunnels, and hanging on gallery walls, the city itself has welcomed international Street Artists to do these installations over the last decade and the funding for the events, artists, and materials are largely contributed to from public grants.

It’s a stunning model of arts funding that we’d like to see more of; one that is sophisticated enough to make behavioral and aesthetic distinctions and that is appreciative of the positive contributions of Street Art to the contemporary art canon. Here is one model that recognizes the importance of art in the streets as something necessary, valued. And the city of Stavanger keeps inviting a varied mix of well-known names and newcomers who show promise year after year.

Ben Eine (photo © Ian Cox)

At some point during the panel discussions at Nuart Plus this year there was talk about the dulling effect that the growing popularity of Street Art festivals specifically and sanctioned public art generally can sometimes have on the finished pieces. Certainly we are all familiar with those brain-deadening community murals of yesteryear that include lots of diversity, droning morality lectures and cute ducks. But we think the right balance of currency, community, and unchecked creativity can often catalyze great results, and smart people will know how to help keep it fresh.

Another topic discussed this year, at least in part based on our 2011 essay “Freed from the Wall, Street Art Travels the World”, which we wrote for Nuart’s “Eloquent Vandals” book, is the game-changing influence that the Internet continues to have on the Street Art movement itself.  Considering that in the last year alone we have shown you art in the streets instantly from Paris, Iceland, Istanbul, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Copenhagen, London, Sweden, Atlanta, Bristol, Baltimore, Boston, Berlin, Beijing, Brooklyn and about 25 other cities on five continents, we think it’s worth quoting the intro from that essay; “The Internet and the increasing mobility of digital media are playing an integral role in the evolution of Street Art, a revolution in communication effectively transforming it into the first global people’s art movement.”

Aakash Nihalani (photo © Ian Cox)

Solidly, Stavanger took a lead in the Street Art festival arena early and is still setting standards for high quality as an integrated cultural event without compromising integrity with so-called ‘lifestyle’ branding. These images from 2012 show just a sampler of the many directions that Street Art is taking us, with traditional graffiti and letter-based influences and new overlays of 20th century fine art modernism keeping the scene unpredictable and vibrantly alive. Nuart artists this year included Aakash Nihalani (US), Dolk (Norway), Eine (UK), Ron English (US), Saber (US), Sickboy (UK), Mobster (UK), HowNosm (US), Niels Shoe Meulman (NL), Joran Seiler (US), and The Wa (France).

Thanks to Ian Cox for sharing these images, some exclusive and some previously published.

Aakash Nihalani installing a piece on the street. (photo © Ian Cox)

Sickboy takes in his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

Saber at work. (photo © Ian Cox)

Saber (photo © Ian Cox)

How & Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

How & Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

How & Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

Jordan Seiler (photo © Ian Cox)

Mobstr takes in the wall. (photo © Ian Cox)

Mobstr makes MOM proud. (photo © Ian Cox)

Mobstr indoor installation. Detail. (photo © Ian Cox)

Mobstr makes friends with the notoriously wet climate in Stavanger. (photo © Ian Cox)

Ron English at work on his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

Niels Shoe Muelman working on his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

Niels Show Muelman (photo © Ian Cox)

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Street Art from ROBBBB in Dubai and Turkey

Workers around the world look amazingly similar, no matter the city.

Street Artist Robbbb, who we last saw in Beijing, is introducing some of the people from that city to be a part of Dubai and two of Turkeys largest cities, Istanbul and Izmir.

“This series of works from China are images of the most common people. I took them to foreign countries with an attempt to explore differences of political and social background, and to highlight their mode of existence,” he observes as he speaks about the enlarged wheat pastes he hand colored.

ROBBBB. Izmir, Turkey. (photo © Robbbb)

With this project Robbbb brings a Chinese man on a rickshaw to the a waste disposal back alley of Istanbul, a lady with a pushcart to a side lot in Izmir, and a man loaded down with bags to a small busy street in Dubai. These are all cities with workers going about their every day life and among them Robbbb wants to introduce their counterparts; images frozen and in mid-action while performing their daily chores and routines on foreign soil.

The concept is well executed as you often will see a local performing the same action while passing the wheatpast,  so similar are our daily routines: Pushing a grocery cart, riding a bike to work, toiling, walking a child to school or to a friends home. With this project Robbbb shows our similarities despite differences in physical appearance, clothing, and cultural differences.

ROBBBB. Istanbul, Turkey. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Istanbul, Turkey. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Istanbul, Turkey. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Istanbul, Turkey. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Dubai. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Dubai. (photo © Robbbb)

ROBBBB. Dubai. (photo © Robbbb)

Click here to read and see images of Robbbb’s works in Beijing.

Please follow and like us:
Read more

ROBBBB : Street Art in Beijing

From time to time we like to spotlight an artist’s blog. In addition to having a page dedicated solely to Artists Links (hint hint look up) we also like to feature their blogs (if you are a Street Artist and don’t see yourself there, let us know and we’ll add you). Just wanted to let you know because we just added this Chinese Street Artist named ROBBB getting up in Beijing. There is not much Street Art coming out of China so it’s still pretty unusual and we’re glad to share it here.

ROBBBB (photo © ROBBBB)

“Street art is a kind of space art, with its special way of occupying space and even reform the space” ~ ROBBBB

ROBBBB (photo © ROBBBB)

ROBBBB (photo © ROBBBB)

To learn more about ROBBBB and to see more images of his work click on the link below.

http://www.robbbb.com/

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Kid Acne Stabby Ladies in Beijing for “Cloak and Dagger”

Street Artist Kid Acne just ran in deeply wooded areas outside Beijing with “stabby ladies” in hot shorts and capes. The staged role play was a dream state reinactment to ready himself for his solo show “Cloak & Dagger” at Other Gallery, and thankfully we’ve got video documentation here.

Kid Acne “Cloak and Dagger” (image © courtesy of Kid Acne)

Touring the back rails and tracks in search of graff, he found that the urban vocabulary in Beijing can be strikingly similar to industrialized cities in the West and that people took great interest in his work. His new video casts a true grit psychedelia to his creative fantasies and appetite for play now planted in the mainland.

A real stabby lady among the wilds of the rails in Beijing – a still from the video by Kid Acne.

Kid Acne “Cloak and Dagger”. Image still from the video.

Kid Acne “Cloak and Dagger”. Image still from the video.

Kid Acne “Cloak and Dagger”. Image still from the video.

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Blanco Visits Beijing and Shanghai

China has it’s own graffiti and Street Art scene, but you don’t hear too much about it. You can get a tour of local Street Art and graffiti in Beijing, check out sites like FatCap and of course the pool on Flickr. New York graff legend Daze even had a show at a gallery here a couple of years ago. According to some state media reports, portions of the Great Wall were the focus of a 2004 archaeological study showing graffiti was popular a long time ago, as crafted by wives of soldiers, who “decorated parts of the wall with images of clouds, lotus blossoms and ‘fluffy balls’ (xiuqiu), ‘symbols of peace and love’.  Right now it appears to be a common practice of tourists to carve their names into the bricks, which seems a bit more damaging than a Krinks marker, to tell the truth.

New York Street Artist Blanco did a little touring around Beijing and Shanghai last week and took a few pictures to send back home during the tour. He liked finding some familiar names in an unfamiliar country, and he was even surprised. Along with a few quick pictures he caught on the way, he wrote to tell us about what he saw. Here’s what he says:

“I went to the Great Wall like all tourists do and I discovered Neckface tags on almost every garbage can I walked past.

Nasty Neckface in Beijing one the Great Wall (photo © Blanco)

In comparison to Beijing, which seems bureaucratic like Washington DC, Shanghai seems to be a lot like NYC, with more going on culturally, massive apartment buildings sprouting up all over, and a lot of money running through it.

A door with several tags by Utah and Ether in Shanghai (photo © Blanco)

In Shanghai I went to the French Concession neighborhood  and I found a door with several tags from Utah and Ether, which made my day. It was kind of cool because I also found a Utah tag when I was in Rome three years ago and I don’t know Utah but just knowing that she is from NYC and has been in the same exact places as me is kind of comforting.

Blanco in Shanghai (photo © Blanco)

The next day I went to this art neighborhood that has a graff wall where it’s legal to paint and there were some pretty good pieces but I get a little bored with legal pieces.

Vhils in Shanghai (photo © Blanco)

After some more walking I turned a corner and found an amazing piece by Vhils and a little while later, in a more secluded spot, I found a second Vhils piece. Unfortunately it is kind of blurry – I couldn’t get a great picture of it because it was getting dark and it was in a dimly lit hallway with only one exit. I was alone and I could hear someone moving on the second floor of the abandoned building so I took a couple shots before I got scared and left but both pieces were pretty cool.” ~ Blanco

Vhils in Shanghai (photo © Blanco)

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more

A Visit to La Biennale Di Venezia 2011

ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, la Biennale di Venezia

54th International Art Exhibition

Writer Lea Schleiffenbaum was recently in Venice for the Biennial and she kept an eye out for Street Art for us, but quickly discovered the streets were under water.  With art from 89 countries, however, she found the city to be rich with spectacle and possibility.

by Lea Schleiffenbaum for BSA.

brooklyn-street-art-Lea Schleiffenbaum-venice-beinnale-2011-the Golden-Lion-web

Installing The Golden Lion (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

Everything takes a bit longer in Venice. The small, north-Italian city is car-free, the only modes of transportation are so-called Vaporettos—boat-buses—or water taxis, both hard to find and slow. Walking is usually the fastest solution, as long as one does not get lost in the city’s maze of canals and narrow alleyways. I arrive at three in the afternoon—I am here to attend the opening of ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, the 54th Venice Biennial—by the time I get to the apartment I am staying in, it is five. Getting lost or helping others trying to find their way is almost part of the Biennial experience. The best thing to do is to let go, adjust to Venice time, wander, and allow one self to be surprised. In the end getting lost might not be the worst; from the months of June to November every corner, every piazza, and every palace in Venice might hide another national contribution, a Pavilion, or a small exhibition.

brooklyn-street-art-Lea Schleiffenbaum-venice-beinnale-2011-US Pavilion-Allora-Calzadilla, performance-outside-web

US Pavilion. Allora and Calzadilla performance outside (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

This year’s Biennale is curated by Bice Curinger, director of the Kunsthaus in Zurich and founder of the contemporary art publication Parkett. With ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations the Swiss curator set out to explore contemporary art for its inner essence. “Popularization,” she warns, “should not be at the expense of complexity.” Following such rather elitist ambitions in search of value, self-reflectivity, and depth, Curinger turned the 54th Venice Biennial into a serious, well-organized, but rather sober exhibition.  Aiming to connect contemporary art with its pre-modern routs, she decided to include three paintings by old master Tintoretto, the painter of light. The masterpieces are hung in the first room of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, following Philippe Parreno’s light installation Marque. The exhibition continues with big names, including works by Seth Price, Christopher Wool, Sigmar Polke, and Cindy Sherman. On display are high quality works by high quality artists. Everything fits; nothing is too crazy, nothing very surprising.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Lea-Lea-Schleiffenbaum-Central-Pavilion-Giardini-frontal-view

A steady stream of attendees at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

My slight disappointment with the Central Pavilion is softened by a visit to the Arsenale, the second venue curated by Curinger. The pace here is good. Curinger takes her viewers from large-scale installations, to smaller more intimate sculptures, paintings, and photographs. Monica Bonvicini is followed by Klara Liden, Rosmarin Trockel, and Urs Fischer whose candle wax replica of Giambologna’s famous sculpture The Rape of the Sabine Women will slowly burn down as the exhibition continues. Video work interrupts the general flow of the show in regular intervals, giving the viewer a chance to stand still for a moment and watch. Christian Marclay’s wonderful film The Clock stands out especially. Three days later I hear he won the Golden Lion for best artwork—which he fully deserves.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-christian-Marclay-clock-june2011

Promotional still from “The Clock” by Christian Marclay

By far the most interesting concept Curinger introduced to this year’s Biennale is the so-called Para-Pavilion: Pavilions created by artists for artists. It is great to see artists set their work into a dialogue with other artists and cultures. Young Chinese artist Song Dong for example, collected one hundred old doors in Beijing and reconfigured them in Venice inviting African-French artist Yto Barrada, and British artist Ryan Gander to show their work within them. Eccentric as always, Austrian artist Franz West asked a total of 40 artists to fill his Para-Pavilion – a reproduction of his kitchen in Vienna – among them Mike Kelley, Sarah Lucas, Josh Smith, and Anselm Reyle.

brooklyn-street-art-Lea Schleiffenbaum-venice-beinnale-2011-US- Pavilion-Calzadilla, performance-web

US Pavilion. Allora and Calzadilla performance inside (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

This year’s Golden Lion for best national Pavilion was awarded Germany, for its reconstruction of a stage set by artist and director Christoph Schlingensief. Last year, Christoph succumbed to a long fight against cancer. A Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within was the second part of a trilogy written by Schlingensief following his first round of chemotherapy. Sitting on church benches in a dark candle lit room, visitors become witnesses to an artist trying to deal with life, death, and illness. Video projections of decaying animals, war, and fight sceneries are occasionally accompanied by a Wagner symphony; sometimes the voice of a woman reads aloud from the transcript of the play. It is hard to settle back into Biennial mode after such an intense and engaging installation.

The US is represented by Allora and Calzadilla. Working with former Olympic Athletes that execute choreographed performances on old US airway seats and upside down tanks, the Cuban-American artist duo questions heroic gestures and national self-presentation. Just like the Olympic games, international biennials swing somewhere in between competitive performance and peaceful encounter. Thomas Hirschhorn transformed the Swiss Pavilion into a vibrating Gesamtkunstwerk made of aluminum foil, old magazines, cardboard, and ear sticks. The Crystal of Resistance is a very physical, almost organic installation. Asking what art can do, how it can change the status quo, Hirschhorn engages his viewers in questions of politics, aesthetics, and transience. Hany Armanious’ subtle yet beautiful sculptural installations in the Australian Pavilion present a nice contrast to the many large-scale installations and performance pieces. Armanious casts everyday objects to reconfigure them in poetic assemblages. The French Pavilion stands right in front of the Australian Pavilion, and this year it stars Christian Boltanski, who deals with birthrates, death, and arbitrariness. This year’s choice for the Polish Pavilion has caused quite a bit of turmoil. Rather than choose a local Polish artist, the commissioners invited Israeli artist Yael Bartana to represent the country. Under the title …and Europe will be stunned, the young artist shows a film trilogy that asks Polish-Jews from all over the world to return to their country of origin, which needs them.

brooklyn-street-art-Lea Schleiffenbaum-venice-beinnale-2011-Arsenale- Klara-Liden- Trash-cans-web

Arsenale. Klara Liden Trashcans (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

A total of 89 countries are represented in this year’s Biennial, the most of any Biennial so far. Those who don’t have a pavilion in the Giardini or the Arsenale are scattered across the city in one of Venice’s grand houses or palaces. Political statements are followed by aesthetic expressions, rebellious actions by poetic gestures. Of course, Venice is ridiculous, over the top, an incorporation of art-world glam and spectacle. But in between getting lost, queuing, and meeting old friends and acquaintances, one inevitably ends up discovering some previously unknown artists, and sees new work of already loved ones. In the end the visit is always worth it.

~ Lea Schleiffenbaum

brooklyn-street-art-Lea Schleiffenbaum-venice-beinnale-2011-web

Venice (photo © Lea Schleiffenbaum)

ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, la Biennale di Venezia, 54th International Art Exhibition,

June 4th – November 27th 2011

Please follow and like us:
Read more