What room is left for internal images – for dreams, hallucinations and visions – in an era besieged by external ones? And what is the point of creating an image of the world when the world itself has become increasingly like an image?’
Massimiliamo Gioni, director 55th International Art Exhibition.
Here’s a list:
shower of gold
birds of prey, steel drums
rusting bowl with a ring of water
prisms of glassy light; thick dark
boat sailing, haunting brass
tea, wit, cardboard and honeycombs
scarlet threat in the Congo
rapping chatter to and fro, to and fro
a hairy bottom and a cabbage
maps of Penelope’s threads
autistic notebook pages
large ceramic floppings
small ceramic fetishes
monk’s line drawings
These are just a few images – and that ‘s only the half, or quarter, or eighth, or sixteenth of it.
We should be proud of ourselves, Massimiliamo.
That artists like Deller can make us cry about the world – with regret, anger, nostalgia. That we can leave the British pavilion with purpose and a vision for the future.
That visual beauty is harnessed to thought via music in the French pavilion.
That a few brass instruments in an Icelandic sailing boat in green water under some arches can make us think of our own and others’ mortality and how we might gracefully mourn ourselves.
That we might see, really see, that ‘Here art grows on trees’ when Australia shows us a rusting bowl and some flying swarms of text.
That a Russian shower of gold can be both bad shit and good shit. And that we will pick up a handful of coins and do as we are told without question, even when we are implicating ourselves in oppression.
That warmth and welcome are vital. That Iraq is the place where we learn that a cup of tea and a biscuit, a comfy sofa, a small scale witty take on hardship, a pair of cardboard slippers are the best antidote to that ridiculous Gucci poster.
That with the help of an artist we can look, really look, at other places, other landscapes through fresh, crimson, Irish eyes.
That when we see each other with the help of some fiercely concentrated actors in Tino Seghal’s work we feel the give and take, the backwards and forwards repeating patterns of a truly human exchange.
That with the help of our artists we can make new images, think new thoughts and find new ways of understanding the problems of being human.