ILLUMInazioni: 2011 Venice Biennale lives up to expectations

After the confused jumble of the 2009 edition, I wasn’t much looking forward to seeing what was on at the Biennale in Venice. Yet, after the past two days, I’m pleased to report that I found this year’s event much better.

The Director, Bice Curiger, has been Curator at the Kunsthaus Zurich since 1993, and has brought to Venice a much-needed measure of clarity and cleanness. The largest pavillion at the Giardini hosts a truly cosmopolitan Biennial show, built around an unofficial lifetime achievement award to Tintoretto, the most modern of the Old Masters.

The national pavillions are mostly solid submissions, with the German homage to Christoph Schlingensief (presenting the installation Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir, pictured above) deservedly winning the Golden Lion. Another unmissable work is Thomas Hirschhorn’s installation in the Swiss pavillion, Crystal of Resistance (for which I refer you to the designboom post). Among individual artists’ awards, Christian Marclay’s Golden Lion to for The Clock – read more about it here – is also well deserved.

I keep wondering how much art will be hurt by the global crisis: art keeps bouncing back.

The Biennale is on until November 27, 2011.

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