Tag Archives: junk art


12 Sep

The time has come for us to talk about Ryan Gander. He’s obviously considered the bee’s knees right now, with exhibitions all over and fawning articles and whatnot. Why, I couldn’t tell you. True to his It Boy status, his work runs through ‘Illuminations’ in the Arsenale and the Main Pavilion like a persistent tumour, popping up and bumming you out every time you’ve dared to hope you’ve seen the last of him: some nerdy polyhedral dice in a case, various other precious conceptual interventions that make you want to slap him, more lumber piled against the wall, this time with wall text making a pathetic and half-hearted appeal to Mondrian because the bits of wood are all painted in bright colours.

No other artist seems to be so well represented either in terms of quantity or of geographical distribution across the Biennale sites. Has he been slipping the curator secret lengths? I can’t think of any other sensible reason for his ubiquity when one discounts the quality of his work or ideas, both of which are unimpressive… albeit par for the course in the desiccated, pretentious, all-head-and-no-heart world of certain art critics and curators.


8 Sep

Jean-Luc Mylayne’s enormous colour photo prints show coloured or black voids with minimal intrusions of twigs or branches and comically tiny birds perched somewhere in the frame, making themselves the centre of attention despite their unambitious insignificance. Nice. I’d have these hanging on my wall if I had a bloody great wall going spare.

Nearby is the work of Rebecca Wood. Oh no, it’s small bits of metal stacked against other bits of metal again! That’ll teach you to demonstrate a sense of colour, space, wit and intelligence, you horrible competent photographer with your horrible competence!

Artists, especially British artists, please knock this kind of shit right off. IMMEDIATELY. Its says nothing to anybody about anything.  Somebody should stack Rebecca Wood against a wall and then stack real wood on top of her until she promises to actually make some art instead of just putting things against other things. There are more representatives of this tendency at the Biennale than I can be bothered to savage specifically, but in the Arsenale Carol Bove particularly deserves a bespoke kick in the bum with a pointed shoe for taking up so much space with her lovingly presented old crap, twisted metal and derivative Louise Bourgeois metal mesh fences. Louise Bourgeois didn’t make her work as a sneaky way of cleaning out her garden shed, ladies. Continue reading


7 Sep

As its name suggests the Arsenale is part of the former naval yards where La Serenissima built and sustained its seagoing dominance from the 13th century onwards. Now, with the inclusion of the Corderie (formerly used for rope making), the buildings form an exceedingly long, thin gallery. Somehow I missed the notoriously ghastly and universally castigated work offered this year in the Italian pavilion that is part of the complex, but by all accounts I did myself a favour.


At the part of the Arsenale I did access, Song Dong’s installation is a discouraging omen to put at the building’s entrance. It’s the first of several “parapavilions” supposedly intended for “mutual exchange” between artists but with results that more closely resemble mutual and incestuous masturbation. This parapavilion comes from the Steptoe’s Yard/Load of Old Junk school of art that enjoys a perennial and baffling popularity with certain artists and curators.

It’s big, if that counts as a merit. The fact that it’s made from reclaimed bits of old building lends the thing its only vaguely interesting trait: that musty, stifling smell of old wood irreversibly permeated with the odours of work or life. Unfortunately this aspect seems too poetic and Proustian for somebody so apparently unimaginative to have done it on purpose. I think I probably laid that on the work myself so I didn’t just turn around and walk straight out again. This could be the lazy work of a huge swathe of artists from anywhere in the world. Continue reading

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