The "crown" in Venice

The art biennale shows its colors

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17.04.2024 16:00

This year's art festival in the lagoon city is very colorful. With more than 300 artists from all over the world. Austria is also strongly represented at and around the Biennale. The "Krone" took a look around.

"No matter where you go or where you are, you will always meet foreigners - they/we are everywhere. And no matter where you go, deep down inside you will always be a foreigner," says Brazilian curator Adriano Pedrosa, explaining the motto of this year's art biennale in Venice: "Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere".

He has now dedicated large parts of the exhibition in the main pavilion of the Giardini and in the Arsenale to foreigners, otherness and outsiders. The very colorful show focuses on indigenous and folk art, works by queer artists and those who "are foreigners themselves, in the diaspora, emigrants or refugees," says Pedrosa. More than 300 artists from all over the world are taking part.

Austria is strongly represented
Austria is also strongly represented this time with four artists. These include filmmaker Oliver Ressler, who in his video work "The Right of Passage" "explores the idea of global citizenship," Ressler told the "Krone". The film is about people who live"without papers" on the streets of Barcelona, about the "marginalized and excluded" in their struggle for citizenship. The Lower Austrian painter Leopold Strobl, who has already made it to the MoMA in New York from his studio in Gugging, is also represented at the Biennale for the first time with 16 of his overpaintings and transformations. "He is very pleased to be here, but will not be attending the opening himself. He lives a very secluded life, so the hustle and bustle is too much for him," says Nina Ansperger, Director of the Museum Gugging in Venice, in an interview with the "Krone".

Leopold Strobl, here in the Museum Gugging, is taking part in Venice with 16 of his atmospherically dense overpaintings and transformations. (Bild: NÖ Museum Betriebs GmbH, Monika Schaar-Willomitzer)
Leopold Strobl, here in the Museum Gugging, is taking part in Venice with 16 of his atmospherically dense overpaintings and transformations.

Apart from the Biennale, the Austrian art scene is also very present in Venice, which in any case becomes one big exhibition space during these months. Here is a brief overview.

Martha Jungwirth at the opening in Venice. (Bild: WOLFGANG HUBER-LANG / APA / picturedesk.com)
Martha Jungwirth at the opening in Venice.

Martha Jungwirth, "Heart of Darkness ":
The Austrian painter's exhibition at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini also revolves around the theme of migration. A visit to the Musée de l'histoire de l'immigration in the Palais de la Porte Dorée inspired her to create the new series of paintings. "The themes of migration and persecution have taken on a completely different reality for me. The long history of repression, which continues to this day, has deeply disturbed me," explained Jungwirth at the press event for the opening of the show. The lush green and petrol nuances of her paintings also draw their inspiration from Joseph Conrad's novella "Heart of Darkness". (until 29.9.)

Eduard Angeli guides "Krone" journalist Franziska Trost through the "Silentium" exhibition. (Bild: Franziska Trost)
Eduard Angeli guides "Krone" journalist Franziska Trost through the "Silentium" exhibition.

Eduard Angeli, "Silentium ":
The Austrian painter's poetic exhibition atthe Fondazione Vedova welcomes you like a haven of silence. In the meter-high hall of this former salt warehouse, his large-format, melancholy paintings of Venice develop a particularly impressive aesthetic. "In 2019, the flood disaster destroyed my studio on the Lido. That ended my 20-year stay in Venice," he explains in the Krone interview. "I then returned last year. The light of this city in and on the water is so unique that it has attracted so many painters," enthuses the 81-year-old about his adopted home. The exhibition, whichAlbertina director Klaus-Albrecht Schröder also worked on, is now also like a quiet declaration of love to the "Serenissima" away from the tourist crowds. (until 24. 11.)

The installation "So sorry - Alea Iacta est" by Sabine Wiedenhofer. (Bild: Sabine Wiedenhofer)
The installation "So sorry - Alea Iacta est" by Sabine Wiedenhofer.
Sabine Wiedenhofer with a small model of the installation in her studio in Vienna. (Bild: Franziska Trost)
Sabine Wiedenhofer with a small model of the installation in her studio in Vienna.

Sabine Wiedenhofer, "So sorry - Alea Iacta est ":
The almost half-meter high figurines made of Murano glass are up to their necks in water. Literally - they are lined up in a large basin filled with 1200 liters of water. As a symbol for us humans in a world that has gone off the rails. Climate change, wars, forced migration, economic crises . . . sometimes you can really get the feeling that things have long since fallen apart.

At the invitation of the Venice government, Austrian artist Sabine Wiedenhofer has created an unusual game of "Mensch ärgere dich nicht" as part of the Art Biennale with the elaborate installation "So sorry - Alea Iacta est". "I have reinterpreted the oldest board game in the world in order to portray society in a playful way," explains the Viennese artist in an interview with Krone. "We are born into a life, on a path that should ultimately lead to the protection of Homebase. Some get off to a better start and roll a six straight away thanks to their origins - but we have to play along no matter what. Ultimately, the question is: who rolls the dice for us? Do you have your life in your hands?" A giant dice invites visitors to become active themselves. Behind it is the huge lettering "So Sorry" - made from rifle cartridges used by NATO. "It symbolizes the indifference that is spreading with regard to all the crises. This shrugging of the shoulders: Oh, but I'm sorry about that . . .", says Wiedenhofer.

The installation will be opened on Wednesday evening by Venice's mayor and in the presence of prominent guests such as Cornelius Obonya, Agnes Husslein, Katja Riemann and many others in the old Tesa Hall 99 in the Arsenale (where the ship's sails were once stretched).

Xenia Hausner, "Stranger Things ":
On Wednesday, the painter presented five new paintings at the Patricia Low Gallery under the title "Strange Things", which, in keeping with the Biennale, also deal with the themes of migration and uprooting. (until 9. 6.)

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