VENICE DIARIES PART 4 – Greek & Austrian Pavillions
Still at the Giardini there were two more pavilions I really enjoyed – Greece and Austria.
“Beyond Reform” is the site specific installation created for Greece by artist Diohandi. The themes she explores in this transformation of the original pavilion (both inside and out) are space and time. A wooden panelled exterior encapsulates the original structure of the pavilion which can still be glimpsed through cracks in the panels. Inside a serene installation of sound, light and water is encountered upon ascending a flight of steps. The visitor crosses a platform across dark waters towards an opening of sheer light.
The water is only a few inches deep but the darkness gives it the illusion of being unfathomably deep when you walk in. It really is an installation to experience on your own not in the crowds of early Biennale season. I was able to walk across on my own and the walk towards the light felt really quite moving.
Diohandi remarks in reference to the theme of the Biennale “ILLUMInations”: “My research understands the theme in its deepest, most basic sense. Starting with what is a very specific, concrete, strictly rational space, I am intervening to reform the space, one that is different in terms of both structure and emotional charge, where the dialogue between viewer and work/space is at once ambiguous and animated. I am shaping the pavilion’s image, both outside and inside: the entire space is remodeled, although none of these interventions will actually affect the existing structure. Sound and light will also feature, which are indispensable to the work.”
“Schinwald once again aims for spatial, bodily and emotional irritation, luring visitors into a maze, a labyrinth of hollow alleys and narrow tube-like passage ways”
This was just fantastic! The labyrinth, instead of starting from the floor begins at the ceiling and stops short of people legs so that this visual aspect is incorporated as people explore the installation. The disconnected legs are echoed in the surreal sculptures of chair and table legs that are found climbing walls and dancing round corners giving a wonderful quirky lightness to the work.
Throughout the labyrinth there are paintings to be discovered – reworkings of 19th century portraits that Schinwald has chosen individual prosthesis for them to wear forever which he describes as an “apparatus of desire”.
and here’s a bit of a walk through: