Paul and Brandon contemplate the massive quantity of Anselm Kiefer's Alexander VI. We wondered how it had been brought into the room through the large, but not that large, door. Closer inspection showed that it was constructed on three separate vertical panels.
Tony Cragg's Secretions, organic sculpture with a textured twist -- the color and light come from thousands of dice which cover its entire surface (actually, both surfaces -- a second accompanying piece resembles an undulating Moebius strip). The random arrangement of one to six dots showing from every tiny cube on its outer shell creates a visual array that adds to its spatial quality.
Pardon me for blanking, but I can't remember which country's pavilion held this installation. What installation, you say? The whole room. Its materials were listed as sheetrock, paint, flourescent fixtures, doors, and so on. The room itself was the art, constructed into a clerestory with no visual distractions on the walls -- at least none of the usual kind you might see at an art gallery.
In the Korean pavilion, Ik-Joong Kang's Throw Everything Together And Add consisted of hundreds of palm-sized paintings which covered every surface on every wall from floor to ceiling. Having moved from Korea to the United States, the artist looked for a way of adapting his work to the confined portability required of a daily commuter. He was able to make paintings while riding subways or in a tiny apartment, each of which reflected one particular aspect or conversational phrase or memorable daily image of his new life.
OK, this is another one for which I don't remember the artist's name or the title of the work either. Matter of fact, I didn't remember seeing it there outside the main gardens when we had arrived that morning.... I think the artist was Israeli, and hadn't been allowed to put the shipping container inside the garden grounds of the Biennale. Hmmm. Inside the container (note the open door on the left) was a man-made landscape of small hills and discarded belongings, and some sort of computer/monitor/electronics device which would intermittently beep at you.
Other memorable works seen in the garden grounds that day....
...Jim Dine's taller-than-life drawings of owls, crows, Pinocchio, and Mickey Mouse (which was titled "Me"), and his Big Rolling Noise, a collection of bust sculpture -- skulls, scraped and melted -- assembled on what looked like the axle and wheels from a chuck wagon.
...In the Canadian pavilion (boarded up to provide proper ambiance for a movie theater), Rodney Graham's anticlimactic, funny, hypnotic film Vexation Island: A constantly looped short film consisting of slooooooooowly paced, langorous shots of a tropical beach with an unconscious pirate under a palm tree and a colorful bird nearby. Long shots of beautiful waves. Of a bird looking. Of the pirate, with a noticeable gash on his forehead, sleeping the sunny day away. Clouds. Sand. Waves. Bird. Pirate. You get the idea. Then -- slooooowly paced shots of the pirate awakening, looking around himself. Noticing his world, as if for the first time. Getting conked on the head by a falling coconut. Falling down unconscious into a deep coma. Repeat.
...Naito Rei's One Place On The Earth, a meditative work inside a beige, dimly lit and oblong fabric tent looking something like a ... well, a yurt created by an artist. A message outside, asking for a moment to pause before entering, then inside a collection of ... things. Sticklike, insectlike, knick-knacks collected by some alien intelligence and arranged in a method of your own comprehension. A shrine to your headspace.
...Zofia Kulik's stunning and complex collages of black-and-white photography and iconic images repetetively collected into a billboard-sized statement of anti-war reasoning, or more accurately, the lack of reason behind war.
...A collection of business cards. Yes, on display, as art. Organized very meticulously, each one mounted on the wall and all arranged in an easy-to-read line at eye level. Sometimes, success in the art world is, just like in business, all about who you know, and whose phone number you have when you need some strings pulled.
...Ion Bitzan's Sankt Patricius Vagevuur, an open book, tattered and torn and bloodied, burned and ragged and frail, making one think of horrific stories while simultaneously wanting to turn the pages. At least, that's what the Fibers and Printmaking students among us wanted to do with it.
...In the United States Pavilion, Robert Colescott's sarcastic, comic-book portrayals of minority life, such as Bilingual Cop, in which a police officer fluently berates Hispanics in two languages.