Themes of Globalization, Identity and Spirituality Expressed in a Variety of Media are Prevalent Throughout the Biennale

May 26, 2017

As is so often the case in Venice, the Giardini's Central Pavilion where the "historic" national pavilions from 1907 are located generated a space for artistic commentary. For example, the United States Pavilion, a Palladian-style structure built in 1930 in a style resembling Thomas Jefferson's home, presents Mark Bradford's exhibition critiquing this Jeffersonian structure and the lack of Jeffersonian values in the United States today.

Using the modernist architect Gerrit Rietveld's Dutch Pavilion as its conceptual departure point, the artist Wendelien van Oldenborgh and curator Lucy Cotter's Cinema Olanda operate in the cracks between the projected image of the Netherlands as a transparent avant garde country and alternatively, its reality today based on a nondisclosed previously unacknowledged post war narrative.

See our exclusive interview with Lucy here:

The Pavilion of Korea illustrates powerfully the impact of globalization on Asian cultures.
In Counterbalance: The Stone and The Mountain, Lee Wan's performative works adopt a sociological lens to examine the relation between individuals and the socioeconomic systems structuring their lives. For this installation, the artist's travels across Asia lead him to inquire about both the benefits and the harms of globalization and its influence on the socioeconomic structure of the people whom he interviews on his travels.

See how curator Lee Daehyung explains Lee Wan's project here:

Christine Macel is the curator of this year's Biennale. Her show, titled Viva Arte Viva, is one of nine pavilions she's designed. These nine pavilions, which are intended to "flow together like chapters in a book", are described as "telling a story that is often discursive and at times paradoxical with detours that mirror the world's complexities, a multiplicity of approaches and a wide variety of practices. The exhibition is intended as an experience, an extrovert movement from the self to the other, towards a common space beyond defined dimensions."

Among Macel's nine pavilions is the Central Pavilion's "Pavilion of Artists and Books" where modernist painter McArthur Binion's exhibition is held, entitled DNA Series.

See Binion's explanation of the DNA series here: