Thursday, 30 July 2009

Venice Biennale - 5 - collateral events

In the collateral events, the one not be missed was : Peter Greenaway's video installation of "The wedding at Cana". He used the wall where the painting originally was hung, in the Benedictine abbey across from St Mark's Square. He pulled teams of sound and lights experts. He wrote scripts for a virtual dialogue between all figures on the canvas and added music to the event. He manipulated laser beams, projections on side panels, numbers on characters for identifications, closeups images of faces, animated diagrams. He darkened some areas, focused on others and the show was on for 50 min.
The stage set for the wedding. Murmurs of voices starts with a gossip on the far end, comments on the invitees, remarks on cloths, references on food. Attention gets closer to the main organizers, their worries and pride. Instruments are played, cutlery shaken, velvet and silk crumpled. "An ebullient painting, a feast, a wedding, a celebration, a grand event, a tumult, a swirl of bright conversation, laughter, music. (...) Banish gloom, guilt and melancholy. What are all these people saying, talking about, chattering about,debating, anticipating, discussing? Should we listen in? Can we listen in?" says Greenaway in his written introduction.
Until drinks dried up and the Christ performs his first public miracle to turn water to wine. And it continues to spin in their heads, on their tongues: doubts, amazement, suspicion, credulity...
The miracle was depicted as if Jesus was part of the Venitian court of the 16th century and far away from its setting in Cana, Galileo with a Jewish background in AD 31/ 33

Could Paolo Veronese, the Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, have thought of this interpretation in his "Wedding at Cana"in 1562? Or did Greenaway see in this painting the potential to go beyond what the artist offered in his art?
He was able to turn this silent canvas into a lively hybrid from modern technology to art history to an explanatory form of the subject with the context of the period it was painted in.
"In this way it seems that, shifting the identity of this work from vision to sound, you were able to retain the idea of Veronese, that is the idea of art, which is always to establish a non-place" says Achille Bonito Olivia


AliK said...

An outstanding performance indeed, made so much better by your interpretation. I read one place at the Bienale that Art changes the future as it changes the past!

makram said...

There is a beauty in this one is that art has expanded in dimensions
offered by technology.

Artist have many more dimensions to work with these days and they can
expand there imagination and innovation.

sarah said...

And artists are expanding all their capacities for expression.
Seekers of amazement, ravagers of the old establishment, creators of new visions, artists are always at work. whether recognized by the public and the experts or invisible, in total silence.