Territorios, an exhibit put on by the Italian-Latin American Institute contained some great work, including the knife pictured above By Manuela Ribadeneira. Engraved in reverse, the reflection on the wall says (in Spanish) I Make This Territory Mine. There was a great video by Cuban artist René Francisco called Patio di Nin.
In the same building was the three-room video pictured above by Sonia Balassanian called Who is the Victim?
I also ran across Htein Lin from Burma (pictured above) selling gloves full of water as part of Migration Addicts, one of the collateral exhibitions.
Before I close and move on to Art Basel, Documenta, and Sculpture Project, I wanted to note a few things in the Giardini.
I had trouble understanding Hyungkoo Lee's presence in the Korean Pavilion. I hate to carp on something that was so well received, but his work oozed Yale MFA program. He almost seems to be Matthew Barney's surrogate, since Barney's only presence in the Giardini was at the L'uomo Vogue booth where skinny models tried to pass off free five-pound copies of their magazine with Barney on the cover.
Isa Genzken in the German Pavilion made me wonder about Europe's love/hate relationship with America. Trolling through the modern art spaces in the EC, I'm always tripping over these over-romanticized depictions of Americana: American Indians, The Space Program, Jazz Music, "The West," Hollywood, etc. Then our imperialist president does something unforgivable, and America gets blamed for shattering their dreams.
Lastly, I want to mention the conversation I had in front of Toril Goskøyr and Camilla Martens piece at the Nordic Pavilion. I talked with the guy hired to wash the windows dressed as an African immigrant. I'm sorry I didn't write down his name, as he wasn't credited on the artists' or the pavilion's web site. We both felt that he was there as a surrogate for the African immigrants seen selling designer handbags around Venice. He was actually working as a Summer student intern while studying architecture in Italy. He was born in the Sudan, but came to Europe with his parents at a baby and had grown up in Brittan. I asked him if any of the other art viewers had gone up and talked to him, and he said I was the only one. He was hired as a docent but was put to work washing windows because he looked the part.