Many foreign cultural academies are taking part in the 2003 Venice Biennale, where 64 national pavilions aim to reveal a cross-section of the worlds realities in the 50th international exhibition of art. This year the event is entitled Dreams and conflicts: the dictatorship of the viewer, and takes place at the Giardini della Biennale, the Arsenale, Museo Correr and a range of other venues across the city.
The Japanese pavilion is presenting Heteropias (Other Spaces), featuring the work of Yutaka Sone and Motohiko Odani. Sones work is an extension of scenes of everyday life, such as Her 19th foot, in which 19 monocycles are joined and ridden simultaneously by 19 people speaking different languages. Odani uses woodcarving techniques to create sculptures inspired by comics, horror movies and MTV.
The Nordic pavilion, shared between Sweden, Norway and Finland, is being organised this year by the Office for Contemporary Art in Norway on the theme Devil-may-care. The three artists featured include Swedens Mamma Andersson, a narrative painter who, in her own words, never wants to tell anyone anything, but only wants to touch lightly on some psychologically charged moment. Norways Kristina Braein is an installation artist, while Finnish artist Liisa Lounila is a filmmaker who likens herself to those basement bands who are trying to make the ultimate hit single about their own lives.
The Istituto Italo-Latino Americano (IILA) is presenting Archipilago de imgenes, which showcases the work of 13 artists from across South America, including El Salvadors Muriel Hasbun. Born of a Palestinian/Salvadoran Christian father and a Polish/French Jewish mother, Hasbun uses photography to explore the significance of her familys past and her own origins. Her Watched over series in the IILA pavilion deals with her mothers experiences while hiding from the Nazis as a child in France during the second world war, and with her own exploration of her identity as a woman of Jewish and Palestinian heritage raised as a Catholic in Latin America.
Poland has chosen creator of concrete poetry Stanislaw Drzdz to be its representative with his project The dice have been cast. Drzdz focuses on the graphic visualisation of language, with a series of efforts aimed at analysing linguistic reality. Visitors to the Polish pavilion are confronted with a large wall made up of 250,000 dice arranged to show all the possible combinations that can come up when six dice are cast at one time.
Britains Chris Ofili, who won the Turner Prize in 1998 and is best known for using elephant dung in his work, will present an exhibition of new work in the British pavilion. Meanwhile, for the first time Scotland and Wales will be represented separately: Scotland by Claire Barclay, Jim Lambie and Simon Starling at Palazzo Giustinian-Lolin, and Wales by Paul Seawright, Cerith Wyn Evans, Simon Pope and Bethan Huws at the Ex-Birreria on Giudecca Island.
The international exhibition of art is open until 2 Nov. For information tel. 0412728397 or see www.labiennale.org.
Picture: 250,000 dice feature in Stanislaw Drzdz's installation in the Polish pavillion.