Tuesday, October 8, 2013
The World in a Drop of Water: Simon Ma at Palazzo Pisani
Part of the Chinese artist Simon Ma's selection of works at Palazzo Pisani--one of the "collateral events" at this year's Biennale--suffered from the success of another part of his works on display. At least for me. I found the way his six large stainless steel water drop sculptures reflected and distorted the grand (one might even say overweening) architecture of the palazzo's two large tall courtyards so compelling that I had little attention left over for his paintings displayed on the piano nobile (works on which he collaborated with Julian Lennon, whom I assume is that Julian Lennon, of the hits songs of the '80s and all the rest). Yesterday was a drizzly monochromatic kind of day whose flat light perhaps lent itself particularly well to an appreciation of the interplay between the sculptures and their architectural setting, while, inside and upstairs, the paintings seemed a bit dwarfed by their surroundings.
Of course my attention to the paintings wasn't helped by the fact that a small orchestral group of students from the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello was running through some pieces in the palazzo's androne, complete with a conductor perched on a step-stool and the brass section (as you can see in the photo below) divided quite picturesquely between two floors--the trumpets blaring bright and potent as the sun through windows above. I showed up at the palazzo intent only on looking, but was quite happy and grateful for the chance, all unexpectedly, to give myself entirely over to listening.