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The 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, entitled “All The World’s Futures” and curated by Okwui Enwezor, was open to the public for about 6 months at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. Posts about the exhibition at the Giardini venues are here and here.

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The Venice Biennale was founded in 1895 and has been recognised as the world leader in contemporary art exhibitions and the countries participating have reached 89 in 2015.

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136 artists have been invited, of which 88 for the first time. The artists come from 53 countries, and of the works on display, 159 are expressly realized for this year’s exhibition.

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 The Venice Biennale has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends – which makes it much more exciting than going to an art museum which just documents the past.
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Many pieces need no explanation. One cannot help but react viscerally to these sculptures made with chainsaws dripping with a black paint or resin (above).
arsenale-5The meaning of the cannon (above), the copper dome, 2 pianos, money and mounted photos (below) need more explanation which unfortunately we did not have the time to discover.
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There is simply a pile of cash (Euro) in the middle of a wooden platform.
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There are thousands of faces mounted on a undulating surface suspended from the ceiling.
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This is a miniature of an accident involving Santa Claus and his reindeers and a high-speed train.
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There are more traditional sculptures.
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These are backpacks that are decorated with a symbolic “fan”. We imagined that the backpack’s wearer will have his/her head lined up with the halo in the fan suggesting a certain type of holiness or superpower.
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There are several shallow pools of water bridged by walkways in a vast empty warehouse – Tuvalu’s submission.
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At the back of the Arsenale buildings are the docks as used for centuries by the once powerful Venetian navy.
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The last piece of work we saw was ‘Out of Bounds” (below) by Ghana-born artist Ibrahim Mahama. He created for the occasion a 300 meter-long, 3,000 kg patchwork installation entirely made of old jute sacks that occupy a big corridor, on the southern side of the Arsenale. The jute sacks are commonly used in Ghana to transport coal, but were originally used in order to transport cocoa at the end of the 19th century.  The installation alludes to Ghana’s controversial cocoa industry and the hard labor hidden behind it, —a critic on the inequality and exploitation of the markets.
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The next few posts will focus on the work of a specific artist.
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