Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Watching The Clock at the Biennale in Venice

This year’s was Venice’s 54th International Exhibition. Artists from all of the world are chosen by their countries or by curators to show their contemporary works. As you would imagine, some of the paintings, sculptures, installations, video art, etc. etc. etc., you name it, moves some visitors, but not everyone. Some grabbed me; some went right over my head. Over the course of four days, we took in most of it. This year David and I had the privilege of attending with our friends Jean-Claude and Francoise, French collectors who study the international art scene in-depth and with a passion for finding young artists who have something to say. With those discerning and informed guides, we found fascination and insight into the human condition, and lots of enjoyment.

Some of the works were amusing. Here’s a mural. How many of these people do you recognize?

One, at the US Pavilion is profound, but not at first glance. Here is Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s piece outside the American exhibit in the Giardini. The upside down tank symbolizes the obsolete nature of traditional war; the woman running on the treadmill shows us that once you take your tanks into a place like Iraq or Afghanistan, you are stuck, moving and moving and moving but getting nowhere.

Sometimes the full of effect of the exhibition spaces, especially in the Arsenale, was more enjoyable than seeing the works themselves.

But by far, my absolute favorite of any I saw was “The Clock,” by Christian Marclay — a twenty-four hour long video project that splices together snippets of film all of which contain clocks. The montage is timed so that the clocks and watches on the screen tell the actual time in the place where the video is being shown. We only got to see about 45 minutes of it, but I could have stayed all day—literally. I want MOMA to show it so I can see the whole thing. PLEASE take a few minutes to see this British TV report and the three-minute clip of the work, and watch (pun intended) how mesmerizing it can be.

Annamaria Alfieri

1 comment:

  1. I found this fascinating, as my current villain is a nut about time and I'm always looking for bits and pieces for him to come up with in his psychopathology. Thelma