This is Tuvalu's second outing at the Biennale. Their first outing was memorable. This time around, Taiwanese artist, Vincent J. Huang (yes, he's back again) is more subtle with Crossing The Tide, but the urgency of the issue at stake remains. While last time around Huang required user participation, this time around he's trying a softer approach. The installation beautifully calling to mind the blue waters of the Pacific, and leaving visitors to contemplate the environment.
The adoption of the Daoist principles of Zhuangzi's ancient text that noted that there was no separation between man and nature.
But an odd decision has been made by the curatorial board. While it's admirable that the pavilion has adopted a paper free policy, encouraging visitors instead to visit the website, the lack of any immediate didactic information in the room, that could otherwise steer the mostly European audiences towards the goals and aims of this largely unknown country, is a lost opportunity. Perhaps the curators can find some way of incorporating some textual information before the peak summer run.
That said, despite the urgency of the environmental situation, the deceptively tranquil environment offers a refuge from neighbouring pavilions. Geysers occasionally erupt with a low whirring gush, blowing steam from the walls, misting up the environment and playing with the preconceived ideas of island paradises.
This is one of Venice's most effective presentations this year. If anyone is an authority on the environmental challenges posed by global warming, then it's Tuvalu. In many ways one could say that they have more authority on the issue than a landlocked nation like Switzerland who have approached the theme in a similar way this year. That said, it's nice to know that this crucial aspect of our future is being addressed by more than one artist and national board, particularly under the light of All The World's Futures.
Definitely one of my six picks at Arsenale.