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juin 28, 2013

At the Arsenale, into Gioni’s great mess that has been praised by all the bards of contemporary art, in the middle of a terrorizing sculptures parterre, there are some pearls. Bellmer’s pictures presented by Cindy Sherman are absolutely wonderful, and the Klein blue of Pamela Rosenkrantz makes you dream so much that suddenly you see all Venice, from the Gardens to Sacca Fisola, in blue. The Serenissima is favorable to illusions. In front of the Arsenale entrance, the illusion hides itself at Tana San Martino, a homeless shelter that welcomes every day about a hundred vagabonds for the midday meal. Some of them stay upstairs for the night, too. A small courtyard with a fig, a scented rose garden, some opal roses and old religious women emitting goodness. But neither Gioni went so far, he who wanted to go to the borders to be in the air du temps, primitive art and other anthroposophies. After all, every two years, when the Biennale opens, the homeless hide themselves. They are not comfortable with this Gilles Lipovetsky’s “artist capitalism”, in this hyper-modern crossbreeding of economy and art. It’s already something that the Tana is not closed in those day… except this year. Because this year, in 2013, the idealists were watchful. Studio Public (creators of public and ludic actions), the art and culture periodical DROME magazine, together with Slow Food (high quality food realized with local products), in close collaboration with the guests of the place, completely redesigned the soup kitchen, creating and painting tables and chairs, and changing the location. Together, they picked up the wood in the close islands and realized original furniture. “Modernity won the challenge of the quantity, the hyper-modernity has to reveal the challenge of the quality in relation to things, culture, lived time”, Lipovetsky adds. Tana San Martino accepted the challenge. The best thing? The chapel. Entirely repainted in Yves Klein blue. A blue that is so intense that the atmosphere of the chapel itself seems blue. The dust of the wood that is already flowing in the air? Blue. The horizontal stripes of light in that late afternoon? Blue. The successful Parisian gallerist Kamel Mennour’s dress (who, as Massimo Bray, the new Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, called in at Tana and said: “It’s the most beautiful thing I have seen at this Biennale”)? Yves Klein blue. There are colour choices that cannot be mistaken. And suddenly Mennour is Kamel again, the young guy that sold artworks door-to-door to win the challenge of quality in his own way. Venice 2013 has the colour of the Tana San Martino chapel. The twisted cross made by wood coming from the lagoon and picked up a few days before comes in the first place in the Pantheon of our images. Because, as Mennour wrote, “art remains a lighthouse in the night, a light in the dark. A shroud of immortal, a funeral splendour.” A twisted cross on a Yves Klein background. Despite all the permitted efforts, the creative marginality isn’t at the Arsenale, but on the other side of the road, as always. Carlo Ginzburg, the historian and art historian, who was a specialist in “microhistory” and witches, is constantly on our mind (read again The Cheese and the Worms, edited by Johns Hopkins University Press): the real need for creativity cannot be found in the shows, but in underground, in those urban undergrounds, from where sometimes the purest blue radiates. Ginzburg quoted Menocchio the miller, who was condemned to be burned at the stakes by the Inquisition tribunal – for him everything was chaos, earth, air, water and fire together. And this volume made a mass, as it happens for the cheese made by the milk, and the worms appeared, and they were angels… Barbara Polla 26.06.2013 –

See more images on Drome Magazine

For the italian version please click here

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