Venice Biennale 15: some field notes (1)

The Venice Biennale is like a candy shop for art lovers; so much to taste, to see and to discover!
Join me for a browse in my field notes taken during my visit. 

Artists continue to uncover the colonial past of their countries in their work.
I loved the work of Daniel Boyd (Australia, °1982). His huge canvasses are adorned with the characteristic lines and graphic swells of Aboriginal painting. Boyd has adopted traditional techniques to rework photographs, maps, and documents. The painted marks obscure the details of these images and in doing so he reflects on the silencing of indigenous voices in the writing of history.

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Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TI1), 2015. Oil, charcoal and archival glue on polyester.

In his work for the Venice Biennale he drew inspiration from the adventure novel ‘Treasure Island’ (1883) by Robert Louis Stevenson. Each image in his Treasure Island series pertains to a navigational chart of the Marshall Islands, which lie northeast of Australia. The paintings highlight the subjective nature of maps, which entangle geographic data with histories of power, conquest and discovery.

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Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TI2), 2015. Oil, charcoal and archival glue on polyester.

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Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TI3), 2015. Oil, charcoal and archival glue on polyester.

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Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TI4), 2015. Oil, charcoal and archival glue on polyester.

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Daniel Boyd, Detail Untitled (TI4), 2015.

The Belgian pavilion showed a thematic exhibition developed by Vincent Meessen which provides very interesting insights into what colonial encounters have produced.

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Sammy Baloji – Essay on urban planning, 2013. 12 colour photographs each 80x120cm.

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Sammy Baloji – Detail Essay on urban planning, 2013.

Sammy Baloji (DRCongo, °1978) who works in Brussels and Lubumbashi comments in Essay on urban planning on the fly control campaign in Lubumbashi in 1929. Each worker must bring 50 flies in order to receive his daily ration.

A remarkable installation Negative space A scenario generator for clandestine building in Africa by James Beckett (Zimbabwe, °1977) draws many visitors in the tiny room where it is set up. A robot arm takes wooden blocks (‘buildings’) from a shelf and places them neatly next to the corresponding text plate. People watch intrigued to what the robot reveals to them about clandestine building in Africa.

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James Beckett – Negative space A scenario generator for clandestine building in Africa, 2015. Installation, 300x111x380cm.

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James Beckett – Negative space A scenario generator for clandestine building in Africa, 2015 (still).

I will share more field notes from the Venice Biennale 2015 soon.
Please share your personal favourites in the comments!