For me it is an art event that I always look forward to, and I love sharing my opinions about the works and the effort that gets put into it.
You'll know that I have posted in detail about the 12 pavilions which I think are this year's real highlights at the Biennale. And in my one day guide to Giardini and one day guide to Arsenale I do my best to also steer you towards some other pavilions and works that I think are not to be missed.
So, in recapping, my favourite pavilions this year:
Japan: The Key In the Hand brought an element of romance to a biennale that is otherwise very unromantic. Strange considering it is Venice, after all.
Indonesia: Often the dark horse of the Biennale. They do it again. Heri Dono delivers using an actual war horse :)
Korea: The reliable, technologically driven pavilion that rarely fails to deliver. And this time it bends time and space in every way possible.
Australia: I walked in with critical eyes and walked away feeling like Fiona Hall achieved something of a purging on behalf of us all. The purge we need to get to our next stage of evolution.
Tuvalu: tiny Pacific island nation uses Taiwanese artist to punch well above its weight for its second show at the Biennale. But will the themes it addresses limit its future participation at Venice?
South Africa: Inspite of everything that has gone down in South Africa, we still haven't learnt our lesson. A mixed and busy show that will move you but won't leave you feeling harried.
Georgia: Do you walk on broken glass or do you choose to submit to the iron glove (curtain). The most powerful political statement at this year's Biennale.
Latvia: those familiar but mysterious temples that dot the domestic landscape. Sexist bat caves to retreat into and for contemplation or teletransporters that inspire all kinds of creativity?
Kosovo: A country marked by war and diplomatic efforts leaves scars behind. Usually not as beautiful as these ones though.
Serbia: Always with a social political view at the ready, this year Serbia's pavilion is like a geopolitical graveyard. But more moving.
Romania: One of the few pavilions that brought painting to the Biennale. But my gosh, what a talent Adrian Ghenie is. One of the most remarkable painters I ever remember seeing.
Spain: If Australia brought the purging, then Spain brought the circus to town. The one that we have created as a society, and that the Spanish pavilion mirrors in a super, pop culture way.
Remember, if you're visiting the Biennale to download my two one day guides to help take the guess work out of what to see and how much time to spend seeing it.
Giardini and travel info here.
Day two itinerary at Arsenale here.