Courtauld Institute of Art Opens One of a Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy at the Venice Biennale

This major international exhibition features monumental new works by four of the most exciting and renowned artists working today: Alexander Ponomarev (Russia), Hans Op de Beeck (Belgium), Adrian Ghenie (Romania) and Ryoichi Kurokawa (Japan).

One of a Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy is an Official Collateral Project of the 54th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art – the world’s oldest and most prestigious art festival – and is on view at the Arsenale Novissimo from 3 June to 27 November 2011. The exhibition is organised by the AVC Charity Foundation (London) with the academic support of The Courtauld Institute of Art.

Entropy! A key term characterising the movement towards chaos – in physics, probability theory, sociology and information technology. The entropic end-state is nothing less than uniform oblivion, which recent art-theoretical discourse has associated with representations of melting and liquidification – an ocean of homogeneity.

The exhibition throws light on this inescapable tendency (declared to be the second law of thermodynamics), demonstrating that resistance to it can only be carried out by a creative person. Only creators give birth to life energy that is capable of creating improbable structures. The bearers of this power – artists, engineers, poets – are a small army, the guides of evolution, warriors with cosmic noise. In June they come together in a place where the concept of entropy takes on a strategic character: Venice, the sinking city.

Located in the Arsenale Novissimo (a former shipyard) One of a Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy is a fantastic machine, a vessel, sailing in the expanding cosmos of the imagination, leaving behind works in space that allow us – for a second at least – to doubt the inevitable domination of entropy.

The participating artists are internationally recognized as leading voices in contemporary culture. They have all exhibited in major public museums in both their home countries and abroad, and they are represented in important state and private collections. For One of a Thousand Ways to Defeat Entropy each creates a new large-scale installation befitting the imposing renaissance industrial architecture of the Arsenale Novissimo.

For every artist, the technical and artistic ambition of their new work represents a career milestone.

Hans Op de Beeck debuts the latest in his acclaimed series of ‘total’ installations, Location 7: an immersive environment faithfully evoking a pathetic Western European suburban home and garden in grey monotone – within which every aspect, from furniture to blades of grass, is made of concrete. It is as if some Vesuvius has covered anywhere western Europe in ash. Op de Beeck was born in Turnhout, Belgium (1969), and lives and works in Brussels.

Adrian Ghenie unveils Duchamp Funeral 3, an eighteen-metre long, four-metre tall painterly collage depicting Marcel Duchamp’s corpse lying ‘in state’, like Vladimir Ilych Lenin in Red Square. Ghenie was born in Baia-Mare, Romania (1977). He lives and works in London and Berlin.

Ryoichi Kurokawa contributes Octfalls, a digital audio-visual work that consists of eight LCD screens and attendant speakers suspended from the ceiling of the Arsenale, arranged in an octagonal three-dimensional configuration. Oscillating footage of waterfalls and digital distortion whirls around the viewer with sound – producing a destabilizing and hallucinatory effect. Kurokawa was born in Osaka, Japan (1978). He lives and works in Berlin.

Alexander Ponomarev (b.1957) is represented by Formula. This work consists of two eight-metre high acrylic columns, each clear and hollow with a diameter of one and half metres, containing twelve metric tons of lagoon water. Within each, a kinetic futuro-automobile rises and falls in its vertical casket. Alexander Ponomarev was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Russia (1957). He lives and works in Moscow.

Photos by Cosmin Năsui

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Modernism.ro vă prezintă, în premieră, un serial dedicat expozițiilor pavilioanelor naționale și evenimentelor paralele și dar și a celor colaterale ale Bienalei de Artă de la Veneția, unul dintre cele mai importante evenimente europene de artă contemporană.

Mulțumim Institutului Român de Cultură şi Cercetare Umanistică de la Veneția și ICR București pentru suportul și sprijinul acordat la realizarea acestui serial.