The Easel

28th May 2019

Adrian Ghenie at Venice’s Palazzo Cini declares painting as a vital force

Since Ghenie appeared at the 2015 Venice Biennale, his prices have gone wild. This writer goes all in – “the world’s most exciting painter under the age of 50”. Others are less impressed – “incoherent compositions … assembled gimmicks that don’t add up.”  Aware of the hype, the artist declares “there has to be energy and control”, sounding a bit like a personal trainer at the gym.

21st May 2019

Venice Biennale: Tidy Narratives Come Unstuck

The Biennale is big – very big. Most of the art is in the national pavilions, of which there are 90 or so. For the first time exactly half the artists represented are women. Lithuania won the gong for best pavillion with its tableaux of actors lying on a re-created beach, singing songs. Ghana, a first time participant, is a standout. Common themes are climate change and the plight of refugees.