VENICE DIARIES PART 2 – The Swiss Pavillion
First proper day in Venice started with an amazing breakfast of cakes and pastries with great coffee in my lovely little hotel. I snuffled some of their delicious biscotti for later and caught the vaporreto (waterbus) to the Giardini for my first big dose of Biennale art. The 40 minute journey down the grand canal to the Giardini was gorgeous – every building and bridge is exquisite, I have never been to a more beautiful place.
Arriving at the beautiful leafy Giardini I had 15 minutes to wander down the leafy avenue and sit on a cool stone bench in the sun, doing a bit of people watching before the Giardini opened at 10am. Ticket in hand, waiting to pass through the gates I felt like a child before Christmas!
I spent over 4 hours at the Giardini and visited all the pavilions there. Incredible variety of work across the sites – some I absolutely loved, some disappointing, and some I have already forgotten. I’ll share some of my favourites and begin with Switzerland. This was the first Pavillion I visited and possibly my favourite in the whole of the Giardini.
The Swiss Pavillion by Thomas Hirschhorn is titled Crystal of Resistance. In creating this work he aimed to produce “a work that is irresistible” and “of my innermost self”. He states “I want to cut a window, a door, an opening or simply a hole, into reality. That is the breakthrough that leads and carries everything along”.
You can read Hirschorn’s thoughts on his work in his own words here but for me the experience of entering Crystal of Resistance was one of entering the mind of a man obsessed. It made me think of conspiracy theories, alien abduction in particular, the make shift materials of duct tape and silver foil that obsessively covered all surfaces giving rise to a comical but earnest picture of a man in a tin foil hat (to block the alien transmissions of course) collecting and cataloguing the hidden messages encapsulated within magazines and television broadcasts.
It felt like the room was also validating this obsession – being a living growing thing itself, born of a mans obsession but now taking on a life of its own. There were what looked like growths – moulds or cells created from earbuds, tumours of beautiful crystals. Walls had been erected, topped with broken glass as barriers and resistance to the inevitable. Heres a quick video walk through I took: