Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the handover

salute from Aaron and Aparna finally in venice.!

sorry for the delay in blogging but trying to think of ways to equal tara's brilliant posts just led to procrastination..

tara is still here in venice... just living and loving.
joel has gone with his mum and sister to milan before returning to Singapore.

it is our 3rd official day working at the pavilion without Tara or Joel.
the handover was all smooth:
-we've met the pavilion drunk... who after being kicked out has lost his title of "Pavillion drunk" to just plain "Drunk"
-we've been introduced to the best pizza in town
-we've survived a Venetian storm
-we've stayed out till sunrise
so all the most important things have been taken care of.
-... and we've learned all the stuff to do in pavillion.

in all seriousness though, i feel a real sense of pride and empowerment working here and representing this art.
People have come out of the exhibition thanking Aaron and I for the cathartic experience...
one girl came out of the exhibition with her hand on her heart and wrote in the guestbook that the exhibition was a "pseudo-spiritual experience".
An artist, originally from Vietnam, living here in Venice absolutely fell in love with Jason's chandelier and bought one of his lotuses... then came back the next day and bought 8 more!
She said his work reminds him of a poem (she put in the guestbook) and hopes to meet him one day...

it's 12:44pm - the pavillion gets all hectic at lunch time!
there's a great mix of people: Venetians, other Italians, French, Germans, English, Americans, Korean tourists (the kind that take photos with and of everything), artists, families, the inspired, the uninspired, the sleazes ...

and just now, a massive group with an artist who previously exhibited work here in the palazzo and a girl who last year, went to the same art school as me !

this place is tiny.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

lucid delirium

Here is Vincent Leow's work Andy's Wonderland.

Here is a shot of the man-hawk in his zinc enclosure. Surrounded by the flourescent light-bulbs thats used pretty extensively in Singapore (the lights reminds me of my traumatic primary school days and being smacked for stealing my belligerent teachers' pink chalk for more productive functions-coloring in my shoes).

The second room consists of photographs of Vincent's dog, Andy Warholy. The room is called Holy Lounge, and it is in essence a homage to his pet. Vincent has elevated the status of his dog- making Andy almost human, a human with power, like a Venetian Doge. With his $18,000 chair, lush rug below it, professional pictures on the wall and a cigar in the ashtray. A parody of human beings ostentatious behavior maybe? A play on the concept of DOGmatism?

Here is Andy in the glass house. Leering up at the chandelier. With a massive erection, that is
quite hard to ignore.

I love this picture. Its of Andy in his padded cell.
Still grinning. Physically enraptured with his domain despite the collar than binds him and the suffocating rooms that he exists in. A bit of social commentary here on our blind adherence to the institutions that run us maybe?

Lastly, Andy is 'laid to rest' in a cemetery. He is surrounded by hair. Signifying the shedding of Andy's fur due to his death. For some reason, I was convinced that the hair collected around the statue was pubic hair, and went as far as to informing a few visitors that Vincent had collected real human pubic hair for this exhibit. I could have sworn someone told me that. I was told later on by Lindy (the curator) that i was VERY wrong, and it was just normal hair collected at a hairdressers.

Siddhartha Gautama

Jason Lim, Just Dharma.
This is the Chandelier smashed on the floor. The Chandelier was meant to represent Dharma, the way of higher truths or order in Human life. The smashing of it symbolized the breaking of that order, iconoclasm in certain religions, and the death of hope.

To the right is Jason's other work, Light Weight. A collection of abandoned and discarded Daoist statues, reflecting the shadow of the Murano chandelier on the top of it.

This piece is a feast for the eyes and also adds a huge dose of Singaporean flavor. It questions whether these religious figures that used to have some 'weight' due to their religious significance in others homes or temples- are now 'light' or worthless due to their eventual abandonment. Hence the title, 'light weight'.

Da Wu's Performance: 1

AIGHT. Here is somethings to quench your visual appetite.

To the left is a shot of rice on a banana leaf-which Da Wu later ingested.

Here is Da Wu's hand holding a tight little ball of rice. Ready for consumption.

Da Wu is just too cool.

He has been living with us for the past few weeks now. His exhibit is a constantly evolving piece.. or correct me if im wrong, time-based art. Da Wu will be doing a few performances throughout the Biennale, until its finish in November. He is now in London, editing a video, which will be added to the exhibit. Joel and I are feeling a bit lost without him furiously drawing in our living room, providing us with killer coffee's and fresh fruit (which is the sum total of my nutritional intake).

Here is Da Wu performing on the top of his alter. It is ridiculous how healthy and strong he is.

As I said before, the response to both of his performances (the pictures of the second performance will be added at a later date) have been really positive. The sad thing about the Biennale, is the lack of contact the visitor has with the artist after the opening. Recently, most of the visitors are tourists with no prior knowledge of contemporary art or what the Biennale is all about. So meeting and seeing Da Wu performing helped with their understanding of what contemporary art is was all about. And most importantly, the essence of his work.

belladonna's and fresh produce

I will post a few dozen pictures at some point. My incompetence extends to not being able to open zip files. So the next time Joel brings his computer to the Pavilion, i will blog from his computer- which are loaded with the images of Da Wu's performance.

The only thing I have managed to get from Joel is this. Big, red, genetically modified tomatoes.

2 Euro's for a Kilo. Bargain.

I think he took this picture from his ramblings around the Rialto Market- Which is right off the maassive and ornate Rialto Bridge. The market is basically a wet market selling fruits, vegetables and dead animals. It's also a lot cheaper than the CO-OP, which i have been frequenting. It's only open in the mornings, which is quite a drag, seeing as waking up during my off-days have proven to be quite a task.

Another amusing thing about the mornings (at the apartment) is our neighbors.
I think the husband is an opera singer, so at around eight the building is shaking with him bellowing out some intense operatic tunes. The novelty factor of it is wearing thin. I have a feeling that his 2 year old daughter is considering a career in the music industry. That little imp hits notes I have never heard from a human being. I think they chuck her in the bedroom right above mine- during her regular morning tantrums. This just worsens the screaming situation..and my mood.

Monday, July 09, 2007

blow down babylon

I have been pretty bad at updating.

But I have a solid defense. The Internet has been behaving rather erratically for the past week, so a lot of what I have written has been lost due to the death of the connection.

And partially due to my incompetence with computers.

Vincent's work, Andy's Wonderland, has been getting a lot of compliments. I met a few Central St Martin students who loved the aspect of walking from room to room and seeing Andy (the sculpture of the mythological hybrid man-dog, dog-man) in a state of unvaried bliss, despite the change of surroundings. With Vincent's work, each room brings something new, despite the unchanging Andy armed with his maniacal grin. An art teacher from a school in Chicago found it a beautiful example of the progression of thought through time. Another person called his work, biblical. The idea of never truly being free in life, and even in death, is something the resonates with me. Andy's almost sado-masochistic collar is a testament to the idea of being under some sort continuous control, or subversion. Vincent's work really reminds me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Plato theorized that humans were chained in a cave, looking at shadows on the wall made by their captors moving puppets- in short, Andy's bliss is an example of his indulgence and complacency to this false reality. He is happy despite the numerous cages (padded room, glass house, cemetery) which he is in- and is probably not aware of the 'institutions' that bind him.

Da Wu has been doing a few performances. One yesterday, and another the day before. On the first day, he sat by his round table and eat rice off a banana leaf. And on the second day, he offered a meal of rice on a banana leaf to about ten of the visitors. Da Wu called it 'a meeting with the artist'. And talked to the visitors about the mythology of the banana plant, which has been a strong part of his art for the past few years and one of the prevalent themes in his work for this pavilion. It was a relaxed and informal meeting that lasted over an hour. There was a great vibe in the room. One of the visitors pointed out that Da Wu's exhibit seemed like a beautiful mix of the masculine, cold massive steel sculptures with the feminine, soft video of the hand rolling the rice off the banana leaf and the paintings of body parts on the wall. This warmth was extended further when the room was crammed up with people participating in the performance, sharing ideas, and learning about Da Wu's interpretation of his work.

Oh, and two composers, one from the states and one from Italy, have commented on Zai's composition, which is synchronized to the video installation. They really loved it. One of the composers went on to call it an ' inspiring synaesthetic experience'.

Managed to get a bit of traveling under my belt. Went to the mainland a couple of days ago and saw the old town of Padua, Padova to the Italians. It's easy to forget how much stuff there is to see in Venice and around when there is an equal amount of contemporary art exhibits floating around. But, as of late, I have really been making a point to see some of the great masters of the artistic endeavor (aha). There is just the most amazing collection of Tintoretto paintings at the Scuola di San Rocco. He was commissioned to do around 30 massive paintings for that building, this task took up most of his later life. And the Friari church right next door, holds two of the most magnificent frescoes by Titian, The Assumption of the Virgin and the Pesaro altarpiece. I'm going to sound like such a gimp saying this, by the assumption of the virgin gave me goosebumps. I even bought a postcard of it to send to my old art history teacher.

yes im ridiculous.

In Padua, I managed to see Giotto's 'revolutionary' frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel. I also managed to see a bunch of Donatello's sculptures in St Anthony Basilica, and some pretty nasty relics of St Anthony's Jaw and tongue. My mum is a Roman Catholic, so this would have totally been up her alley, seeing as this church is quite an important pilgrimage destination for catholics. The church was pretty amazing, the interior is a mix of different periods, so one chapel would be filled with Byzantine frescoes and relics , whilst another was purely dedicated to grand baroque monuments.

Ah the longer I stay here, the more I never want to leave! Not only are the Venetians the warmest of people. They are also such culturally sound individuals, with a deep understanding of society, history, and cultures other than their own (partially due to the 15 million tourists that come into the city every year). Every street, building and church in Venice has a story. It's overwhelming yet magical- I want to know it all.. and the three weeks I have left is just not enough.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Its confirmed

He is Zul's biggest fan. The pavilion drunk came back.

This time he did a rather stealth mission- minus the backpack..but armed with a bottle of something.

Being the alert and vigilant creature that I am known to be. I noticed his entry..due to the particularly elaborate pair of sunglasses he chose to wear for that afternoon.

By the time I got security, and Joel, who was in the loo, the guy had already managed to take his shoes off..and was about to take a swig from his bottle- in the dome. Quite hilarious.. and a tad bit dramatic seeing as he continued to insist on his rights to enjoy the exhibit.

Joel told him quite bluntly.. that he smelt..and was drunk. And we finally managed to get him out.

The unfortunate thing is that 'smelly man' (a name we have come to affectionately call him by) permanently resides in the campo by the Palazzo. Its become quite a regular thing in the morning for him to either call me beautiful girl... or yell out an Italian obscenity when I choose to ignore him. The waiters at one of the cafe's have my back though. They tell him off in my defense. Chivalry is definitely not dead around these parts.

Aiya..look at this mini drama that has unfolded all because of Zul's sound dome!