Venice Biennale 2015

July 5, 2015

In addition to All the World’s Futures, the main exhibition curated by prominent Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, the 56th edition of this year’s Venice Biennale featured nearly 90 national pavilions, and countless collateral events. Here were a few highlights:

  • Prints, drawings, video, and a curated selection of props offer a sensitive glimpse into the complex, layered practice of the video and performance art pioneer Joan Jonas at the American pavilion. Jonas conceived stunning free-standing rippled mirrors for the exhibition, which were hand-crafted in Murano.
  • Pamela Rosenkranz has transformed the entire Swiss Pavilion into a gigantic pool of pink monochrome liquid, which is inspired by the skin colors found in classic Venetian paintings. This spectacular gesture nonetheless maintains a certain subtlety: an olfactory work and dynamic lighting create a series of perceptual shifts .
  • Danh Vo’s subtle and poetic exhibition Slip of the Tongue at Punta della Dogana was one of the top picks of the opening week, including works by Roni HornMartin Wong, Nairy Baghramian, and Henrik Olesen. A highlight of this show was Nancy Spero’s Codex Artaud: thirty-four fragile scrolls covered with a hybrid form of writing/painting that attempted to channel the “fury” of the French writer Antonin Artaud.
  • Cao Fei’s La Town was the talk of the Arsenale. This 45-minute long film is a reflection on a mythical post-apocalyptic city made with miniature sets and figurines. Spanning a utopian past and future plagued by social instability, the film melds different time periods, places, and fantasies to create an uneasy vision of our time.

Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word Installation view. Photo by: Moira Ricci. © Joan Jonas

Two other works that stood out to us at the Biennale include Kutluğ Ataman’s multi-video installation at the Arsenale and Chiharu Shiota The Key in the Hand at the Japan Pavilion.

Pamela Rosenkranz at the Swiss Pavilion


Slip of the Tongue curated by Danh Vo in collaboration with Caroline Bourgeois


Roni Horn’s Gold Field


Still from Cao Fei’s La Town


Kutlug Ataman’s video installation at the Arsenale


The Key in the Hand by Chiharu Shiota at the Japan Pavilion