The Giardini Pavilions

A Review by Jason Bereswill, Jane LaFarge Hamill and Michael Kagan (MFA 2005)

Lee Yonbaek
Day 2: The Giardini Pavilions

One of today's favorites was the visual decadence of the Korean Pavilion. The scale of the objects and vibrance of color were seductively polished, but subversively violent - shattering mirrors, flowered neon army fatigues, and one of the only representational paintings we saw- a giant photo-real painting of florescent fishing lures.

Outside the American Pavilion was perhaps the grandest perfromance of the year. Wearing Nike issued Olympic gear and a shirt emblazoned with 'USA', decathlete and superstar Olympic gold-medalist Dan O'Brien ran on a treadmill fixed on top of an upside down huuuge military tank. His movements powered the tread of the capsized war machine, and the mechanics were jarringly loud- overpowering the auditory space of the surrounding pavilions- demanding attention like a beacon. People came flocking.

Inside the pavilion the action continued with performances by US Olympic gymnasts and an installation of a working ATM connected to a church organ blasting random notes as you enter your PIN. Jane took out some of that holy money and onlookers covered their ears as her pin code piped the organ at a deafening pitch.

Hajnal Németh
The Hungarian Pavilion made an impact on everyone in our group. Hajnal Németh's installation 'Crash' is a study of car accidents in three parts. Most notably, a full-room experience engulfed in red light in which the viewer feels as though they've entered one of Warhol's red Crash paintings, complete with a wrecked automobile front and center. Also included are testimonies from accident survivors re-enacted by opera singers.

Gelatin, and the inspired Austrian
We went back to see Gelatin of course, and the kiln had heated up considerably from yesterday. The performance now included an inspired naked young Austrian man who brought a new meaning to the word "tree hugger"... his mouth spewed red wine as his tongue caressed one end of a log, while his torso pumped up and down making sweet/rough love to the other. We really hope he didn't get any splinters.

Kagan ran into a fabulously decked out Stacey Engman at the
Dasha Zhukova party at the Bauer and got hungry... for her hat.

We also can't fail to mention that our nightly bedtime was usually 4:30am, every night a different country, art magazine, and fashion house hosting parties. It was hard to keep track of it all and each other- cue joke about Kagan.

More to come, ciao from Venezia!
Jane, Michael, and Jason

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