wordsby nicholas brown
In weighing my decision whether or not to attend the 53rd Venice Biennale, I did what many do: balance financial and scheduling considerations against the professional and personal lure of (arguably) the biggest art exhibition in the world, held in (arguably) the most magical place in the world. Doing so in the midst of a recession made it all the more difficult, but always lingering in the back of my mind was the anxious injunction to go to Venice now before it sinks into the ocean. Well, I went. And in spite of a rather tepid overall exhibition – more on that in a minute – it turns out I had the right idea. Not only did Venice flood unseasonably during my brief visit, but I got to attend Ragnar Kjnartansson’s The End, an appropriately apocalyptic show that represents Iceland’s participation within the national pavilions at the Biennale. Taking place in the Palazzo Michiel dal Brusa by the Canale Grande, the work forms a kind of terminal location for weary art viewers.