Venice Biennale 2015 – Part 2
Above and below is “Night Blooming Genera,” 2015, by Helen Marten of Great Britain. The 8 foot long sculpture looked to me like a suspended giant shrimp or krill. Each element of the mixed media sculpture is a delightful art work in itself – fish net floats, detailed sea shells, fish hooks made from metal, glass, steel, ceramic, plastic… This artwork engaged me to want to touch each element, to explore the sculpture with my fingers (I didn’t!).
In the coolness of a huge darkened room was Turkish artist Sarkis Respiro’s neon rainbows which were displayed a each end, opposite each other. The pieces were very simple and a calming respite from the bright sun outside. Although each composition was an overall arch, the colour bands above emulated cloud patterns, while below seemed to echo mountains.
Los Angeles artist Vanessa Beecroft’s “Le Membre Fantome,” 2015 was a piece closer to my heart because of her extensive use of marble. The photos above are what you see when you peer through the opening crack between two huge slab skins of white marble quarry blocks. In the room beyond are a jumble of raw marble blocks and columns on top of which are arranged female figures executed in a variety of coloured marble. In the centre is a highly polished bronze torso, which seems very like Marcel Duchamp’s “Étant donnés,” and indeed is referenced as a memory of Beecroft’s studies on the accompanying storyboard. I experienced a psychological tension, as I was dying to squeeze through the viewing fissure and walk in the stone garden and touch the sculptures. I did note that the marble figures were of three distinct poses, which leads me to believe Beecroft designed the sculpture, but probably had the elements pointed up and carved by artisans. Nonetheless, the sculpture is Beecroft’s and the matte surfaces of the nudes begged to be caressed!