Cry Me a Canal
Today marks the start of the Venice Biennial. And one of the exciting shows not to miss is Future Pass – From Asia to the World on the Grand Canal at the Abbazia di San Gregorio (Dorsoduro 172) and Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana (Cannaregio 4392) 4 June – 6 November 2011. The opening events start tonight and continue from 1 June – 3 June.
Over 100 artists (including Indieguerillas, top, Gary Baseman, below top, Takashi Murikami, below middle, and Thurkral & Tagra, below bottom) provide a panorama of the new “aesthetic paradigm currently proliferating from Asia to the rest of the world. Crossing genres and disciplines as they appropriate the digital culture of the 21st century, artists working in this eclectic new aesthetic are generating new types of relationships to the globalizing world, offering us all a possible Pass to the Future.”
Curated from an Asian perspective, Future Pass brings attention to different values that can be recognized in contemporary art. The installation of the show privileges a kaleidoscopic vision that breaks away from the typical “white box” of the museum. This all-over visual experience speaks directly to the viewing habits of our digital age, especially our relationship to the computer screen. Future Pass has been structured around a series of dichotomous pairs, beginning with the dyad that lies at the very root of ancient Chinese philosophy – the concept of “yin” and “yang,” the idea that opposites complement each other. Yin and yang, male and female, lightness and darkness are interdependent; they have a shared origin. One cannot exist without the other, and each can transform into its opposite. The same law applies to the other concepts around which Future Pass is organized: East/West, Past/Future, Yin/Yang, Universal/Individual (all exhibited at the Abbazia di San Gregorio), Virtual/Real and Cosplay (exhibited at the Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana). While these concepts may seem dichotomous, they are brought to resolution in each work of art on display. Future Pass is a meeting of different cultures, ages and personalities. Cosmopolitan Venice, historically an empire of travelers, is the perfect site for it.
The exhibition brings together 106 artists worldwide. Their works employ a variety of media — from painting, interactive installation, animation and video to sculpture, live performance and body art.
Future Pass also involves a dynamic confrontation with the past. These contemporary artworks interact with, and sometimes almost seamlessly blend into, the historic buildings in which they are installed — the 14th-century Abbazia di San Gregorio and the 18th-century Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, which serve as the headquarters of the Fondazione Claudio Buziol.
I wish I were there.