Venice biennale II: Giardini

Venue: Giardini, Venice

Lens: Sigma 35 mm f/1.4

Lightroom preset: Old Polar

Music: Richard Wagner – Tannhäuser, Overture (

This is the second part of my contemporary art biennale visit in Venice in 2017. Here are some selected photos from the Giardini part of the exhibit (literally, the Gardens), hosting most of the country pavilions. An example is the top photo of a suitcase in the Austrian pavilion where the main topic was immigration. As suggested by the name, the biennale takes places every two years, for about six months at a time. So the next one in 2019 is just around the corner, in case you’re into contemporary art.

We start with a shot of a video of an artist walking on rope and transporting paintings between two neighboring hills deep in the mountains of (I might be wrong here, but I think I’m not far off) Armenia.
Probably a more standard art installation, somewhat reminding me the works of Rauschenberg. I really don’t recall which pavilion hosted it.
Another “more standard” piece of contemporary art that my memory cannot place properly. Most of the exhibits and country pavilions were way more exotic and conceptual, but this also made them harder to include here as they would not always concentrate on visual perception.


“The artist is asleep.” This is also the beginning of the text, written in Russian and part of the general Viva Arte Viva composition.
I’d be happy to give you an explanation here, but I really don’t remember. So, anyone venture a guess?
I do remember this one: the pavilion of Israel. They intentionally grew mold in the empty building for a year before the start of the exhibit.
This is the roof of the pavilion of USA (I think).
And right next door was the pavilion of Russia, which had an elaborate 3d video effects.
Another part of the Russian installation.
Still in the Russian pavilion, where the lower floor was filled with diabolic scenes one could only witness via a special app after pointing the smartphone camera in the needed direction.
Moving to the art in Japan, where people queued up underneath to show their face in the main pavilion hall and be surrounded by dirty laundry.
Might still be in the Japanese pavilion.
“Proper time.” The faceless family and the clocks part of installation of Lee Wan in the Korean installation.
The German pavilion won the competition for the best art installation with its construction and dark “Big Brother”-like performance. The performers are locked in chains and live under the glass floor of the building, so they are literally imprisoned under your feet. The performance was over for the day, so I only captured the leftover utensils, but the feeling of walking on the glass floor was already quite intense.
These photos were part of the Australian pavilion, I believe.
A video and installation featuring several teenagers reading newspapers was featured in the Polish pavilion. I skipped many other interesting art projects, but I hope I gave you a (subjective) flavor of what the Venice biennale is all about.

8 thoughts on “Venice biennale II: Giardini

  1. Interesting, but not really my sort of thing. Heck, I can be surrounded by dirty laundry at home. I admit the one with “The Scream” made me smile, as that might be a commentary on some of this “art.” 🙂 Plenty of room for the imagination, though.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic photos! Many of these installations are rather eerie, though — especially the one intended to be “watched” through an app. I do think that propagandist-style sculpture with the missing faces is brilliant, though. Thank you for this fascinating post!

    Liked by 1 person

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