Vision Quest: Exploring the Venice Biennale:
“The Encyclopedic Palace,”the mesmerizing main exhibition of this year’s Venice Biennale, is a fantastic journey into the creative recesses of the human mind.
Well- and lesser-known artists reside here, along with assorted shamans, crypto-scientists, paranormalists, apocalyptic visionaries, outsiders, and inmates (of both jails and asylums), along with others who have channeled voices, spiritual and divine, into visual imagery. In this Palace, the medium really is the mesage.
Defiantly and counterintuitively, it’s an exhibition about how we channel images that basically ignores social media —along with television, Hollywood, and popular culture in general.
Yet it’s a show teenagers can love. It’s full of weird, alluring objects that invite contemplation, without telling you what to think—or so it seems. Deviously, curator Massimiliano Gioni weaves hints, homages, and double entendres into his inexorable progression of works by more than 150 artists from 37 countries, presented as a kind of museum of the human imagination.
Read more in my review at artnews.com
Clockwise from top left: Ed Atkins, The Trick Brain(detail), 2012, HD video still. Encyclopedic Palace. Courtesy the Artist and Cabinet, London; Enrico Baj, Ma petite (detail), 1961, mixed media on canvas. Encyclopedic Palace. Courtesy Fondazione Marconi, Archivio Baj; Carl Jung, page from The Red Book (detail), 1914-30, paper, ink, tempera, gold paint, red leather binding. Encyclopedic Palace. Courtesy the Foundation of the Work of C.G. Jung; Detail of poster for “Supernatural,” pavilion for People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Yüksel Arslan, Arture 385, Man XXVI: Hallucinations(detail), 1988, pigments, earth, pencil, and ink on paper. Encyclopedic Palace. Courtesy the artist and Seli Arslan; Marc Quinn, Catman (black) (detail), 2010, marble and stainless steel whiskers. Fondazione Cini. Photo: Roger Wooldridge. Courtesy White Cube.