Venice on the Line at the Biennale


“The first in a remarkable series of images entitled Venice on the Line (I) that specifically challenges the rhetoric of this year’s Biennale in Venice.  It is explicitly intended as a play on the English expression ‘on the line’, both highlighting the artist’s intention to put his work ‘on the line’, but also emphasising  the lived experience of Venices’s urbanscape in which the daily clothing of Venetians is left to gather the city’s air ‘on the line’ for all to see.  It makes vivid use of the juxtaposition of the primary colours of red and blue: the red of the Biennale signage against the blue of the Venetian sky.  These colours are picked out  in the choice of clothing and bed linen: the red underpants and t-shirt against the blue sky and sheets; the blue sheets against the soft browns of the built fabric.  This is not the Venice of the canals and gondoliers, but rather the rectilinear residential blocks to the north of the Giardini and east of Arsenale as indicated in the signage in the lower third of the image.  Cleverly, this is opposed by the street name Calle del Prete Zoto o Cortugola.  This juxtaposition emphasises the combination of Arte and Architettura highlighted at the top of the Biennale sign, but removes it from the usual ‘place’ of the exhibitions and brings to attention the daily lives of poorer Venetians.  The dominant whiteness of most of the washing set against the blue sky, intentionally matches the whiteness of the writing against the red background of the signage. Dominant, at the bottom left of the image, and pointing away from the Giardini/Arsenale arrow, is the widespread Anonymous Stateless Immigrants Pavilion sign, emphasising the artist’s commitment to the alternative tradition exemplified by Venice on the Line (I).”

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