Magazine article Art Monthly

Alternative Venice Prizes

Magazine article Art Monthly

Alternative Venice Prizes

Article excerpt

The official awards rarely give a flavour of the trends and serendipities of the Biennale, so a fanfare, please, for the unofficial Artnotes Venice Awards ...

Golden Owl for HD Video Projection. An increasingly contested category this one, with special mentions to Fiona Tan in the Dutch pavilion, Mark Lewis in the Canadian pavilion and John Gerrard's off-site project, Animated Scene. The prize, however, must go to AES+F for attempting to illustrate Guy Debord's theories with the Feast of Trimalchio in the 'Unconditional Love' exhibition: a vast, high-definition, 360[degrees] projection inspired by weightless aspirational lifestyle ads and luxury superyacht chic.

Golden Panda for Navel Gazing. A vintage year for this category, with several artists making works in the Giardini pavilions about the Giardini and the pavilions. Steve McQueen, of course, made the highest profile film in this category (Giardini), but Dorit Margreiter in the Austrian pavilion provided stiff competition with her own filmic contribution (Pavilion). Although Roman Ondak, representing the Czech and Slovak Republics, deserves a special mention for welcoming the gardens into the pavilion itself, the prize must go to Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster in 'Making Worlds' who produced a film about an artist (herself) talking about thinking about proposing to make a film about the Giardini--an unbeatable combination.

Golden Skunk for Smelliest Contribution. Jan Fabre put in a strong display with his Shelter-studio for the artist-warrior, a suite of cave-like little rooms filled with what the catalogue described as 'experimental organic material'. For Austria, Franziska & Lois Weinbeger offered Laubreise, a humid shed filled with a large cube of decaying plant matter--a contender that will only get stronger during the course of the exhibition. …

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