Venice Art Biennale 2017 Highlights | Yellowtrace

 

The Venice Biennale continues to be a landmark event in the art calendar that attracts an increasingly global audience. Every odd year, over half a million people – collectors, curators, art lovers and everything in-between – flock to Venice to discover new work from over 120 artists from 51 countries. For many artists, the opportunity to show their work in Venice is a career highlight and leads to powerful work being created. Now in its 57th year, the Venice Art Biennale sets the tone for artistic discourse on a global level and presents work that is both playful and challenging.

“VIVA ARTE VIVA” is the title of this year’s exhibition curated by Christine Macel, the chief curator of Centre Pompidou in Paris. The Biennale’s president, Paolo Baratta explains that Macel is “committed to emphasising the important role artists play in inventing their own universes and injecting generous vitality into the world we live in.”

The epicentre of work can be found at the Arsenale and Giardini venues, although art pervades the entire city. For those of you who are planning a trip to the biennale, we’ve assembled a few of our favourites so far. It’s utter madness and you won’t want to miss a thing!

The event has been in full swing since May 13 and will continue until November 26, 2017.

 

Related Articles:
Reporting From The Front: Venice Architecture Biennale 2016.
Highlights From The 56th Venice Art Biennale 2015.

 

 

EVENTS + INSTALLATIONS

Lorenzo Quinn Support Sculpture Braces ca' Sagredo Hotel at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Lorenzo Quinn Support Sculpture Braces ca' Sagredo Hotel at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Lorenzo Quinn Support Sculpture Braces ca' Sagredo Hotel at Venice Biennale 2017 | YellowtraceImage courtesy of Halcyon Gallery.

 

Support Sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel // Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn‘s Support sculpture features two large hands emerging from the grand canal to encase the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel. Represented by the Halcyon Gallery, the huge sculpture aims to make a statement on the effects of global warming. Quinn, known to use body parts (especially hands) in his sculptures, uses the gigantic limbs as a commentary on the fragility of our built and natural environment and its vulnerability to the forces of nature and man.


 

Ettore Sottsass Carlo Scarpa at the Olivetti Showroom at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photo by Finding Valhalla, IG.

Ettore Sottsass Carlo Scarpa at the Olivetti Showroom at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photo by Matthieu Salvaing.

 

Ettore Sottsass’ Ceramics on display at Olivetti’s Venice Showroom // An exhibition of Milanese designer and Memphis group founder Ettore Sottsass and his little-known ceramics is on display at Olivetti’s Venice showroom, which was renovated by Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa in 1957. Curated by collector Charles Zana, the show of over 70 pieces sets up a dialogue between the work of the two great Italians.


 

Ettore Sottsass "The Glass" Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Ettore Sottsass "The Glass" Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Ettore Sottsass "The Glass" Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Ettore Sottsass "The Glass" Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Enrico Fiorese.

 

“Ettore Sottsass: The Glass” Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero // To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ettore Sottsass, Le Stanze del Vetro celebrates his glass production with the exhibition “Ettore Sottsass: The Glass”. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, the exhibition features more than 220 works, many of which on show for the first time, which are entirely dedicated to the glass and crystal production of the Italian designer.


 

James Lee Byars' 20 Meter Tall Golden Tower at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

James Lee Byars' 20 Meter Tall Golden Tower at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

James Lee Byars' 20 Meter Tall Golden Tower at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Richard Ivey, courtesy Michael Werner Gallery New York & London.

 

Golden Tower by James Lee Byars // A 20-metre-tall golden totem has been constructed in Venice’s Campo San Vio and will tower over the Grand Canal for the duration of the Biennale. The sculpture was created by the late American artist James Lee Byars in 1976 but is being exhibited in a public space for the first time. Presented by Fondazione Giuliani and Michael Werner Gallery, the glowing tower is entirely gilded and took several months to craft.


 

Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking The Captain Lied by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking The Captain Lied by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking The Captain Lied by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking The Captain Lied by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking The Captain Lied by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of Fondazione Prada.

 

“The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied” Exhibition at Fondazione Prada by Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge & Anna Viebrock // Fondazione Prada brings together artist Thomas Demand, filmmaker Alexander Kluge, and stage/costume designer Anna Viebrock for the trans-media exhibition ‘The boat is leaking. The captain lied.’ The collaborative exhibition unfolds across three storeys of Fondazione Prada’s Venetian venue Palazzo Corner della Regina and includes photographic pieces, film works and spatial settings — each offering the results of an ongoing, in-depth exchange between the three creative forces.


 

Pae White Curving Wall of Coloured Glass for Le Stanze del Vetro at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Pae White Curving Wall of Coloured Glass for Le Stanze del Vetro at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Pae White Curving Wall of Coloured Glass for Le Stanze del Vetro at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Pae White Curving Wall of Coloured Glass for Le Stanze del Vetro at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Enrico Fiorese.

 

“Qwalala” Coloured Glass Installation by Pae White for Le Stanze del Vetro // On the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Le Stanze del Vetro presents a new sculpture by the American artist Pae White. Made of solid glass bricks, the piece is a curving wall that is over 75 meters long and 2.4 meters high. The title of the piece, Qwalala, is a Native American Pomo word meaning “coming down water place.” It references the meandering flow of the Gualala river in Northern California, which the work echoes in both its structure and layout.


 

The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca Lo Pinto at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Photography by Claudia Zalla.

 

The Breakfast Pavilion by M–L–XL & Luca lo Pinto // The Breakfast Pavilion is a project curated by Marco Campardo, Lorenzo Mason (M–L–XL) and Luca Lo Pinto with the special contribution of Maria Jeglinska. The contemporary art space A plus A has been transformed into a friendly and informal café, becoming a creative environment where art can be discussed, produced, performed and eaten.


 

Damien Hirst's Underwater Fantasy Exhibition Treasures at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Damien Hirst's Underwater Fantasy Exhibition Treasures at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography © Damien Hirt.

 

“Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” by Damien Hirst // Damien Hirst’s latest exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” fills over 5,000 square meters of space at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana (the old Customs House) on the Grand Canal. The exhibition consists of 190 works that express the story of a fictional ship wreck from ancient times. In the main atrium of Palazzo Grassi stands one of the most dramatic ‘discoveries’ from the underwater exploration – ‘Demon with Bowl’, a gargantuan statue over 18 meters high. After being quiet for many years, Hirst is back with bang!


 

Green Light An Artistic Workshop by Studio Olafur Eliasson at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Green Light An Artistic Workshop by Studio Olafur Eliasson at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Green Light An Artistic Workshop by Studio Olafur Eliasson at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Images © Olafur Eliasson.

 

Olafur Eliasson’s Green Light Artistic Workshop in Collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary // First presented at TBA21 in Vienna last year, Olafur Eliasson brings his green light workshop to the Venice Art Biennale 2017. The artistic workshop responds to challenges arising from mass displacement and migration and shines a light for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. Participants are invited to fabricate green light lamps designed by Eliasson and to take part in a wider educational program of creativity and shared learning.


 

The Unplayed Notes Factory by Loris Greaud at Campellio della Pescheria Murano at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Unplayed Notes Factory by Loris Greaud at Campellio della Pescheria Murano at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Unplayed Notes Factory by Loris Greaud at Campellio della Pescheria Murano at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

The Unplayed Notes Factory by Loris Greaud at Campellio della Pescheria Murano at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography © Loris Gréaud, Gréaudstudio.

 

“The Unplayed Notes Factory” by Loris Gréaud at Campiello della Pescheria Murano // In The Unplayed Notes Factory, French artist Loris Gréaud brings back to life the factory of Campiello della Pescheria, an old glass furnace settled on the Murano island and closed for more than 60 years. Gréaud plans to show 1,000 glass pieces made from hourglass sand.


 

NATIONAL PAVILIONS

Austrian Pavilion, One Minute Sculptures by Erwin Wurm at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Austrian Pavilion, One Minute Sculptures by Erwin Wurm at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
“One Minute Sculptures” by Erwin Wurm. Photography by Eva Wurdinger.

Austrian Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Austrian Pavilion, Brigitte Kowanz at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Austrian Pavilion, Brigitte Kowanz at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Brigitte Kowanz’s Light Installation. Photograhy by Tobias Pilz © Bildrecht, Vienna 2017.

 

Installations at the Austrian Pavilion  // Represented at the Austrian pavilion are artists Erwin Wurm and Brigitte Kowanz. Curated by Christa Steinle, the presentation highlights both artists’ use of installation to extend the notions of sculpture and space. Distinctly contrasting from one another, Kowanz uses light as her “immaterial medium” of sculpture, working with mirrors to multiply physical space into a series of virtual scenes; while Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures turn sculpture into a performative and time-based medium that requires the participation of the public.


 

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Danish Pavilion, Kirstine Roepstorff at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Anders Sune Berg.

 

“Influenza: Theatre of Glowing Darkness” at The Danish Pavilion, Curated by Kirstine Roepstorff // Created by visual artist Kirstine Roepstorff, the exhibition project “Influenza: Theatre of Glowing Darkness” challenges us to embrace darkness as a positive force of healing, transformation and empowerment. The large-scale installation uses darkness, light projections, glass, sound and a recorded dialogue to explore darkness as a condition of healing and reconciliation.


 

France Pavillion by Studio Venezia, Recording Studio by Xavier Veilhan at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

France Pavillion by Studio Venezia, Recording Studio by Xavier Veilhan at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

France Pavillion by Studio Venezia, Recording Studio by Xavier Veilhan at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Giacomo Cosua.

 

Xavier Veilhan at The French Pavilion // Artist Xavier Veilhan has transformed the French Pavilion into a giant sound sculpture and a collaborative stage for artists and musicians. Veilhan has created a faceted interior landscape of wood and fabric and has teamed up with curators Christian Marclay and Lionel Bovier to invite musicians and artists from around the world to play in the recording studio for the duration of the Biennale.


 

Germany Pavillion, Anne Imhof at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Germany Pavillion, Anne Imhof at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Germany Pavillion, Anne Imhof at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Germany Pavillion, Anne Imhof at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Germany Pavillion, Anne Imhof at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography © Nadine Fraczkowski, courtesy of the German Pavilion 2017 and the artist.

 

“Faust” by Anne Imhof at The German Pavilion // The not-to-be-missed German Pavilion has been awarded the Golden Lion for best pavilion of 2017 and hosts “Faust” by Anne Imhof. The work is an installation and 5-hour performance that plays out over the course of a day and involves the artist herself and group of dancers. According to the jury, “Faust is… a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time”.


 

Israel Pavilion, Gal Weinstein at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Israel Pavilion, Gal Weinstein at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Israel Pavilion, Gal Weinstein at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Israel Pavilion, Gal Weinstein at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Israel Pavilion, Gal Weinstein at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Claudio Franzini, courtesy of Gal Weinstein.

 

Gal Weinstein at Israel Pavilion // Tel Aviv-based artist Gal Weinstein has created an abandoned site for the Israeli Pavilion. The site-specific installation explores the human desire to stop time and the relationship between creation and destruction, progress and devastation. Each part of the exhibition is related to works created by Weinstein over the past decade which is woven into a single, cohesive installation.


 

Italian Pavilion, Il Mondo Magico at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Italian Pavilion, Il Mondo Magico at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Italian Pavilion, Il Mondo Magico at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Italian Pavilion, Il Mondo Magico at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Italian Pavilion, Il Mondo Magico at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Roberto Marossi.

 

“Il Mondo Magico” Installation at The Italian Pavilion by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi & Adelita Husni-Bey // Il Mondo Magico is the exhibition for the Italian Pavilion and presents ambitious new projects by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi and Adelita Husni-Bey. The artists who were all born in Italy between the 1970s and 1980s – emerged on the scene in the early 2000s and share a fascination with the transformative power of the imagination and an interest in magic.


 

Nordic Pavilion, Siri Aurdal at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Nordic Pavilion, Siri Aurdal at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Nordic Pavilion, Siri Aurdal at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

Nordic Pavilion, Siri Aurdal at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Åsa Lundén/Moderna Museet.

 

“Mirrored” Group Exhibition at The Nordic Pavilion // Presented in the Nordic pavilion is group exhibition “Mirrored” which consistes of sculptural works, moving images and montage pieces by six artists: Siri Aurdal, Nina Canell, Charlotte Johannesson, Jumana Manna, Pasi ‘sleeping’ Myllymäki, and Mika Taanila. The exhibition attempts to avoid a topical approach but instead strives to challenge the self-image projected onto Nordic countries. According to curator Mats Stjernstedt “the artists in mirrored present a mapping of connections that override the national and regional boundaries, and instead track a more multi-faceted view of how artistic practice may connect.”


 

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

British Pavilion, Phyllida Barlow at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Ruth Clark.

 

“Folly” Sculptural Installation by Phyllida Barlow at The British Pavilion // The British council presents the work of Phyllida Barlow in Folly – a sculptural installation which explores abstract and densely-packed forms which dominate the space. According to Barlow “making art is a political act… it wrestles with beauty, fear, emotion. it doesn’t have a verbal language attached so it becomes a game. it’s feral in its existence. and we have to fathom it.” Works are showcased outside the British pavilion while inside areas are disrupted by each of the pieces, creating a sensory and evolving dialogue between viewer and artwork.


 

US Pavilion, Mark Bradford at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

US Pavilion, Mark Bradford at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

US Pavilion, Mark Bradford at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace

US Pavilion, Mark Bradford at Venice Biennale 2017 | Yellowtrace
Photography by Joshua White, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

 

Mark Bradford Presents “Tomorrow is Another Day” at the US Pavilion // Artist Mark Bradford’s exhibition “Tomorrow is Another Day” in the US pavilion is developed as a multilayered narrative, intertwining personal experience with social history. Today’s world is re-imagined as ancient past, turning individual stories into mythological tales. Paintings and sculpture that expand upon Bradford’s experiments with material abstraction are presented alongside an existing video work that takes on new relevance in the current political climate.

 


 

About The Author

Fenina Acance
Contributor

Architecting away in Melbourne, Fenina is a shameless fashion, art and design fanatic who loves defying the relentless Melbournian uniform of black on black on black. Often spotted strutting a boisterous mix of pattern and colour, her eclectic love for the bold, raw and textured fuels her passion for design and contemporary art. When not indulging in Cy Twombly’s sensitive scribbles or Serra’s evocative sculptural forms, her love for everything Italian consumes the rest of her time. Whether it’s the language, design or food (especially food), Fenina is obsessed!

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