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by publisher Karin Sawetz
June 2011
Karin Sawetz is journalist, media researcher
and fashion scientist (Mag. Dr. phil.).

Art in Venice

On 1st June, I have visited the press opening of La Biennale di Venezia in Italy. Venice is not far away from Vienna - in some hours you are there and back again; belongs to your driving style and endurance:-). I made the travel to throw the eye of a fashion/culture/lifestyle journalist on the art world - a specialised publicist, who looks from another perspective than an art/high culture orientated journalist.

fig.: In this Fashionoffice Insight, I want to introduce especially one artist. It's Lee Yongbaek (born 1966, Korea), who presented flower camouflage uniforms with applied Nam June Paik, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, and Marcel Duchamp badges (the four stand for new media, electronic music, art as social environment reflector, everyday objects in art and vice versa) as part of the 'Angel Soldier' installation together with photo prints and video as an analogy of his generation's social condition (additional pictures from the 'Angel Soldier' below).

fig.: What you can even see on this page is another work - two oversized sculptures with the name 'Pieta', one is like the famous Pieta by Michelangelo, the other one shows an ultimate fight. They are representing the good and the bad side of humans. The sculptures are placed in the same room like the 'Angel Soldier' installation. In the press text, the artwork by Lee Yongbaek is compared with a poem: 'The strength of directness is like a poem."

fig.: The third artwork by Lee Yongbaek which I present in this article, consists of interactive mirrors in golden frames representing 'self-reflection' as a spiritual practise. The mirrors are screens of computers, which display the visitor's reflected image. The installation begins with a mirror that shows the face of Jesus and Buddha; you see yourself 'Inbetween Buddha and Jesus' - this is also the name of the mirror. Then you enter a room where on all four walls mirrors are hanging which are bursting the visitor's reflected image with an enormous bang!

I have to confess there are many great exhibitions at the Biennale, but this one under the title 'The Love is gone but the Scar will heal' at the Korean Pavilion was the one that impressed me the most at the end of my tour through the Giardini (a green park with permanent pavilions inside). In the next days, I will report from other emotionalising, involving, thrilling, entertaining... venues in Venice where 89 participating countries invite to view our society and world through the eyes of artists.

In the meanwhile, enjoy some impressions from the Biennale di Venezia published already during the last weeks on (Short Messages are copied into this page below). The statistics (most viewed articles, keywords) will follow in the next days included into an extra article about the theme 'Cloud Computing'. In the meanwhile, get a preview about today's practical realization of 'Cloud Computing' on

Appendix to this Fashionoffice Insight (update 13 June):
Fashionoffice's 'Cloud'-experiences
In the following article I will report from the experiences we have made in the last 15 years with Clouds...
"From where have you got this bag?"
Tour through the 54th Biennale di Venezia by following the style of the individual bags of the country pavilions...
"Where is the 'Louis Vuitton'-pavilion?"
I took the seat beneath a woman and started talking about the pavilions...
"Is the Frog King on Twitter?"
...asks the visitor into the webcam of the installation 'Frogtopia - Hongkornucopia' by the Hong Kong (China) artist 'Frog King' during the 54th Biennale di Venezia...
Digital media artist in a plastic suit
...another part screened the documentation of the plastic suit performance '30 Days of Running in the Place' with the artist in his especially designed 'sweat-suit' sitting in front of a laptop...
Solidarity bag in Venice; Insight by publisher Karin Sawetz
Unfortunately I couldn't take a photo from the red-white-red bag with my own camera. Back in Vienna, I have received images from the Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria) which distributed 5.000 'Ai Weiwei'-solidarity bags at the 54th Biennale di Venezia...
Venice Insight by publisher Karin Sawetz: 'What Women Want(?)' the title of an exhibition during the 54th Biennale di Venezia which I won't show but bespeak picture-less. I will explain my decision why I don't publish the images.

SHORT MESSAGES concerning La Biennale di Venezia:

30 May 2011 - 'Revolution and cultural mutation' the title of the article about art and cultural practises in Tunisia by Rachida Triki (art historian, curator, Professor of Philosophy (aesthetics) at the Tunis University) on, an exclusively online released publication (launch on 1 June in Venice) that covers the Arab cultural world from the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. "Recent events in the Middle East have shown the world something incontrovertible: official media outlets no longer have a monopoly on the systems of communication that dictate both the content and level of information in circulation at any given time..." begins the introduction to Rachida Triki's essay on The essay will also be published in the catalogue 'The Future of a Promise' at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, premiere on 1st June.

28 May 2011 - Searching for the things that happened
The video presents scenes from two filmworks by the Viennese artist, documentarist, and researcher Marika Schmiedt (born 1966) about the holocaust during the times of National Socialism in the 1930s/40s in Austria; especially the prosecution of Roma and Sinti. In the first video, Marika Schmiedt shows how difficult it is to find the truth in the Austrian bureaucracy - she runs in 'fast motion' from one office to the other. The second part of the video is taken from the series 'Visible' - a form of oral history, about the painter, musician, writer Ceija Stojka, who survived a concentration camp; Ceija Stojka says to the filmmaker that she is one of the last ones who has the chance to take a personal look at the thoughts, memories of a witness of the holocaust. Now, the work of Marika Schmiedt is part of the show 'Call the Witness' at the Roma Pavilion during La Biennale di Venezia

25 May 2011 - Documentary about Jim Thomson who had great impact on the silk industry in Thailand in the middle of the 20th century

The architect and interior designer Jim Thomson is known for bringing in the 1950s new production technologies and distribution methods to the Thai silk industry. Until today, Jim Thomson's Thai Silk Company stands for experiencing Western and Eastern cultures and marks a milestone in globalisation. Now, the fabric label of Jim Thomson is collaborating with the artist Navin Rawanchaikul for Thailand's Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia. 'Paradiso di Navin' is a multimedia art installation with restaurant and bar dressed up in indigenous Pha Khao Mar textile motifs. "Incorporating everyday culture relevant and current to the chosen environment, Navin explores the negotiation between local circumstances and trends of globalisation. His oeuvre encompasses a broad array of media including installation, film, performance, mobile galleries, billboards, comics, games, merchandise and cocktails."

23 May 2011 - Clay sculptures 'Hipocrites' are representing men who feel the loss of their influence on politics, society or the destruction of nature
The video shows the 'Hypocrites' by Mirko Bratušas, who represents the Republic of Slovenia at the 54th La Biennale di Venezia. The installation of the Hipocrites in the Slovenian Pavilion is entitled 'Heaters for Hot Feelings'. The artist explains on his website the project in Venice: "Feelings are difficult to articulate, to display. To ourselves and to others. Exposed or isolated from all other … I’d be happiest if I managed to awaken in the visitors the sensuality that we’re all lacking. There’s a lot of talk about high technologies, new technologies in the arts. We’re used to things existing, and knowing nothing about them." Find more about the project on

22 May 2011 - Clouds are symbolising transcendence, give room for imaginations; they are engines for hallucination... the audio/video installation 'The Cloud of Unknowing' by Ho Tzu Nyen described on the website of the National Arts Council Singapore. Ho Tzu Nyen represents with 'The Cloud of Unknowing' Singapore at the 54th International Art Exhibition which stands this year under the theme 'ILLUMInations' - in the meaning to reflect upon what inspires contemporary artists and the conventions to view art. "Set in a deserted, low-income public housing block in Singapore, Ho's Cloud presents scenes of eight characters in eight apartments, each in an encounter with the cloud..."

14 May 2011 - Data sculpture made by robots from a mathematical program counting viewers, their movements, colors of their clothing... Prague (CZ) based artist Federico Diaz. The installation 'outside itself' is produced without human hands; only by data streams which are reflecting constantly the environment. 'outside itself' will be presented at the Biennale di Venezia from June on. "Together, viewers of all ages and nationalities will influence the sculpture's ultimate form in this work of 'Light' and 'Nations'..."

14 May 2011 - Lavatory as a metaphor for internet communication
... seen at the video installation by Japanese artist Tabaimo who shows women in a public lavatory; the messages on the lavatory-walls are similar to the ones that are posted in our days online on the internet. For Tabaimo, the lavatory is a mirror of life; the secret voyeur who is taking pictures from women in the lavatory is active online too. The allegory on the internet is about (non)privacy and (dis)information. She involves the viewer into a scenery where the inside reflects the outside and vice versa. The stories of the handdrawn comic strip alike animations on screen-walls that are surrounding the viewer are developed by the artist during her work and are not predicted by her before. Between 4 June and 27 November, Tabaimo's installation 'teleco-soup' at the Japan Pavilion at Giardini during the Biennale di Venezia "...connotes the idea of an 'inverted' soup, or the inversion of relations between water and sky, fluid and container, self and world."

3 May 2011 - Art installation about the cycle of life in a space where fashion happens
Fashion people know the Grand Palais Paris especially from the seasonal presentations of the couture house Chanel. The video from 2010 shows French artist Christian Boltanski's clothes installation for the huge 19th century space, once built for the Word Fair. Now, Christian Boltanski appears at the 'world'-event of art at the Biennale di Venezia, where countries are representing themselves with selected artworks and artists. France has chosen Christian Boltanksi, who shows the installation 'Chance'. "It deals with a theme that is dear to him: luck, bad luck and chance, forces that fascinate us and impose their own laws." On, you will find an online game on his work where you can try your luck to win a gift during the times of the Biennale from 4 June to 27 November.

fig.: Views on the art installation 'Angel Soldier' by Lee Yongbaek under the title 'The Love is gone but the Scar will heal' at the Korean Pavilion during the 54th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia (runs until 27 November 2011). Photo captured on 1st June 2011.

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