Historically the Biennale began in 1895 and featured decorative arts as its focus. At the end of World War I the lean was in modern art. In the 1930’s the music, film and theatre festivals were each introduced. Since then avante-garde movements, contemporary arts and abstract expressionism have also found favour.
This event which began on the 1st June and runs through to the 24th November takes you from some very eclectic exhibits, which this year include an oligarth in the Russian pavilion saddled and throwing peanut shells on the worthless below him, the Vatican contribution which shows videos and paintings that weep gelatinous tears, and in the Icelandic region a boat drifts through the harbour with musicians playing a mournful tune as the sailors cross the bar.
In the British pavilion a huge William Morris throws Roman Abramovich’s superyacht into the lagoon in repulsion, the nude statue of Alison Lapper pregnant in all her glory, and there is even a section where you can hold ice age axes and ask archaeologists questions, whilst making woodblock prints used by William Morris. In fact the winner of the best artist has gone to British born Tino Sehgal for his hum and beatbox routine. For this he wins the much coveted prize of the Golden Lion statue. Well done Tino!
For those wanting to visit, Venice has four Biennale cards available; Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond which provide access from witnessing 2 events to an invite for the gala dinner organised by the promoters. Prices vary accordingly from €60 - €1,000 per person.
As the Biennale only takes place every odd year, this is something not to be missed and adds to any Venice break.
For more information on the British pavilion - http://venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org/timeline/2013