Venice Biennale of Art – 9 May – 22 November 2015
Venice Biennale 2015 (La Biennale di Venezia) is the closest thing art has to the Olympics. The 56th International Art Exhibition attempts to capture the rich diversity of the art-world, with all it’s unexpected sights and sounds. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the oldest and most important event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar. It is also the world’s largest non-commercial art exhibition, and this year it features shows from 88 countries across the entire city. More than 150 artists are taking part in the Biennale, and the event attracts more than 350,000 world-wide visitors – from artists, art-lovers and collectors.
‘Personne et les Autres’ by Vincent Meessen & Guests, Belgium: Over a century ago, Belgium was the first nation to open its own dedicated Venice Biennale exhibition space in the Giardini, an event that is also marked (or perhaps marred) by the centenary of the Belgian annexation of the Congo, a bloody and brutal rule that lasted until 1960. In response, the invited artist from Belgium, Vincent Meessen, decided to throw the pavilion doors open to a number of other international artists – from Zimbabwe, Guyana, Italy, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo – whose meditations on colonialism and exploitation makes for an eye-wateringly powerful presentation, the highlights of which are Sammi Baloji’s photographs of the 500-metre no-man’s zone between segregated neighbourhoods, representing the maximum flight range of malarial mosquitos; the black, white and ‘grey’ chess pieces by Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin; as well as James Beckett’s robot arm that shifts wooden blocks around to reconfigure eixtsing Modernist buildings across Africa.
Photographs & text: Wallpaper