Venice Biennale Highlight #4: United Dead Nations

Appropriately for a building that still bears the name of a country that no longer exists, carved in stone above the entrance, the Serbian Pavilion (formerly that of Yugoslavia) at the 2015 Venice Biennale hosts a powerful comment on the fluidity and vulnerability of nationhood. Artist Ivan Grubanov collected the flags of countries that have ceased to exist to create United Dead Nations. In the … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #4: United Dead Nations

Venice Biennale Highlight #3: Hope!

Considering the current conflict ravaging Ukraine, it’s no surprise that the country’s national pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale is highly policised. Within a confined glass cube on the waterfront, on the approach to the Arsenale, a host of young Ukrainian artists present works in response to the crisis. By combining them under the title of Hope!, curator Björn Geldhof announces the intention that the … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #3: Hope!

Venice Biennale Highlight #2: Paperwork, and the Will of Capital

Among the tightly-packed displays in the cavernous main exhibition hall of the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale, Paperwork and the Will of Capital: An Account of Flora As Witness by US artist Taryn Simon stands out as one of the most thought-provoking and carefully-crafted artworks. Simon’s installation explores the overlooked role of flowers as a form of soft diplomacy. The artist at first appears to be presenting them as … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #2: Paperwork, and the Will of Capital

Venice Biennale Highlight #1: Albanian Trilogy

To celebrate the relaunch of ESPIONART, the Cold War art blog, this week presents a series of Cold War related highlights from the 56th Venice Biennale, open now until 22 November 2015. Top of the list is the artist Armando Lulaj’s exhibition at the Albanian Pavilion in Arsenale, entitled Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems. Curated by Marco Scotini, the exhibition presents three recent films by Lulaj charting extraordinary … Continue reading Venice Biennale Highlight #1: Albanian Trilogy

Recommended Read: Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale

Nancy Jachec. Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale, 1948–64: Italy and the Idea of Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008. The 55th Venice Biennale closes later this month, bringing to an end another spectacular exposition of current trends in international contemporary art. The Biennale underwent a 6-year hiatus during World War II before resuming in 1948, just as the Cold War was starting to … Continue reading Recommended Read: Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale