Amy Perejuan-Capone travelled from Perth for her four-week stint as a Volunteer Exhibition Attendant in the Australian Pavilion in Venice. Amy Perejuan-Capone shares her personal impressions of the experience.
What makes the Venice Biennale/Venice itself/this experience unique?
The Biennale was mind-blowing, and several of the works (and other shows/experiences I had) will have a huge impact on my practice. There were so many projects that were so deeply interdisciplinary that definitions or medium are obsolete. And seeing durational scenarios like Lithuania or massive-scale objects (like Poland’s inside-out aeroplane) have pushed my understanding of how such projects can exist. Venice showed me what is intended as the international benchmark for ambition and relevance in art, and this just bolstered my confidence that, back home in Perth and Australia, we're totally nailing it.
For me this opportunity was also about experiencing a Biennale audience. I got to see what works and what doesn't work, what's accessible, how people negotiate installations, what elements confuse, anger, or surprise audiences. This has been just as important as everything else, people watching in Venice is top-notch for so many reasons. I also got to meet many, many, amazing dogs!
What are your impressions of Angelica’s exhibition?
Mesiti’s work is a gorgeous and intricate thing. The meaning is quite dense, and the filming style is beautifully unsettling in a Kubrik sort of way. The installation is sumptuous. Although the work doesn't openly carry a political commentary, I think a lot of people (especially younger audiences) felt a strong resonance with it politically. I think it’s a demanding work that rewards close viewing and patience, and it was extremely uplifting to see so many give it their full energy. My favourite peripheral detail is hearing the audio resonate outside of the pavilion. The muffled sound of drums or stings emanating from this mysterious black cube among the trees has a really unique aura, like a secret assembly.
What has been the most significant, interesting or extreme reaction you’ve seen anyone have to the work?
There was a woman who sat with the work for a long time and spoke to us about how much she loved it, she was quite emotional about it. My colleagues decided to gift her a copy of the catalogue and she just burst into tears. Everyone’s day was made!
On a funny note, people do very odd things in a dark video installation as if no one can see them (so much yoga! so much canoodling!).
What are your highlights from the Biennale (which pavilions, collateral shows or works have spoken to you the most)?
The Lithuanian pavilion is an absolute highlight, the hype is very appropriate. It was breathtaking, captivating, and uncanny in a way that is so rare. The closest I can compare its magic to is Angelica Mesiti's Citizens Band, or Nat Randall's The Second Woman. It's a project that sits in the imagination for a long time afterwards like a flower unfurling.
Other highlights coincidentally featured aeronautics (Poland, Ukraine, and Tavares Strachan’s works in the Arsenale), the focus on the complicated history and poetry of flight is really interesting to me. Overall I enjoyed the works that carried a sense of hope the most, I have little interest in cynical works at this moment in time.
Applications for Venice Biennale 2021 Volunteer Exhibition Attendants will open mid-year in 2020. Read more about the opportunity here.
Learn more about the 2019 Professional Development Participants.