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[Nettime-ro] For your attention
bory on Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:06:34 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-ro] For your attention


Bory spotted this on the Guardian Unlimited site and thought you should see it.

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Note from Bory:

Despre Bienala, asha cum o vad criticii de arta englezi.
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To see this story with its related links on the Guardian Unlimited site, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk

Ape answers art's demands
Fiachra Gibbons in Venice
Sunday June 15 2003
The Observer


Her name is Lala, and like many an artist she can be stroppy when she wants to. 

Before she would appear at the Venice Biennale, the art world's answer to the Olympics, she insisted on a hotel with a garden far from the sweating tourist throngs, a strict ban on interviews, a personal assistant, and her own private vaporetto to ferry her across the lagoon to her show at the Arsenale.  

Like all true divas, she kept her public waiting. For two days the globe's richest and most discriminating curators and collectors waited hours around her glass cage in the hope of an audience. But there were only two short appearances.  

Then, after throwing the primadonna-ish tantrum that is the mark of a true artist, she stormed off - to become an instant art legend.  

Lala is a 20-year-old chimpanzee. Not just any old ape, but a simian Sophia Loren, known for her "classic" Italian caper movie Bongo Bongo, and now the star of the biennale's most bizarre happening, Spelling U-T-O-P-I-A.  

Her installation turns on assembling six-lettered dice to spell Utopia.  

In her first show, created by the Berlin-based Scandinavian artists Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen, Lala very nearly formed the word: a poignant confirmation that for both people and apes Utopia is just beyond reach.  

But by her second show, when the paparazzi had descended, she was in a strop. Looking out at the work of such eminent artists as Tacita Dean and Jeremy Deller in the Utopia Station show, she wrote TIP.  

Then, as the flashguns popped, she spelt out a telling comment on the celebrity circus - TIT - before tossing the dice again to form OUT. Elmgreen and Dragset quickly whisked her away.  

"You cannot mess with her. She is a true diva," Elmgreen told the Guardian. "Chimpanzees are very, very strong animals. If they are really provoked, they could kill a human being." She is now back home in Rome.  

Elmgreen batted away the suggestion that the show was cruel. "Lala is an old professional. She is the star of many Italian films... we didn't want her to get distressed, so we were very careful to limit her appearances."  

Certainly the things done to humans in the name of art at the biennale have surpassed anything Lala may have endured.  

The most distasteful is a Spanish show called Bad Boyz in which the artists film themselves urinating into each other's mouths.  

Their compatriot in the official Spanish Pavilion, Santiago Sierra, bricked up the entrance as a comment on immigration policies and refused to let in anyone without a Spanish passport.  

There were similar shenanigans at the taped-off Venezuelan show. Many assumed that it was simply not ready but the artist, Pedro Morales, felt it was a fitting representation of a country paralysed by political anarchy.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited
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