Joana Vasconcelos, “Contamination”

From The World Belongs To You (how is that for a vaguely Ikuhara-ish title?), curated at the Palazzo Grassi by Caroline Bourgeois.

I actually spent most of my time in Venice not watching movies but running from one contemporary art exhibition to another (although, I wish I’d bought more movie tickets. All the museums close down at 6PM, which leaves one just the right amount of time to grab dinner and head over to Lido for the 8:30PM showing). Spent two days at the Biennale proper, of course, but my favourite exhibition was actually this one - apart from the merit of each individual work, it just felt very well curated. When you see a well-curated show you realize that it’s an art in and of itself, like making mixtapes: creating relationships and resonances between works and artists and movements, in the way that they’re ordered and juxtaposed within the architectural constraints of the given space.  And that most exhibitions aren’t really that well curated. Even the Punta della Dogana, which also contains François Pineault’s collection, kind of felt like each famous piece was holding court in its own room (all the Koons especially gave off this vibe). Although it was worth checking out just to see Tadao Ando’s renovation, which took place after I last visited Venice, in 2007.

My notes for the Grassi exhibition say: “bright colours, patchwork, politics, comics and serial form”. The Vasconcelos installation in the grand foyer touches on all of these; it’s sort of the structural equivalent of the second song on the mixtape, which is the really catchy indiepoppy one you want everyone to hear, after the first song which is a short quirky intro bit. It also looks a lot like Charlotte the Witch from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. As in, I bought my ticket and walked in and was like, “Isn’t that Charlotte out of Madoka!?” Ahahaha. The whole thing is handmade/knit/embroidered out of fabric and materials the artist collects on her travels, and so every time it shows it’s been added to; it’s not inconceivable that the Madoka designers had seen a previous iteration, though I assume coincidence.