30 June 2005

Venice Biennale: It's the thought that counts

The invisible, the maudlin, the magic at the 51st Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte - AKA the Venice Biennale.

“Ohhh! This is so contempory [sic], contempory, contempory.” So mocked the fake gallery attendants in a singsong that greeted art lovers who wandered into the German Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, the world’s oldest and most prestigious contemporary art festival.

Employed by 29-year-old Berliner Tino Sehgal, the attendants were the artwork. Their catchy refrain would prove difficult to shake, as some 15,000 critics, curators and collectors – and more than a few stray movie and pop stars – hummed their way across the sinking city, devouring the latest the art world has to offer.