Vita Vitale, 56th Venice Biennale 2015

56th Venice Biennale 2015

‘Vita Vitale in Venice was wonderful, not only because of artwork selected, but also for the way it was inspired by its setting. The installation inside Ca’Garzoni was sensitive and smart, especially given its location. Water, water everywhere was perfect for an exhibition with such an ecological proposition and, in particular, Rondinone’s dead tree – so human, so appealing! Seen against the backdrop of the Grand Canal it made a huge impression.

Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Illuminating the ways in which we have transformed the planet, the exhibition explored the effects of plastic pollutants, mass consumerism, climate change, depleting resources, deteriorating landscapes, rising sea levels, and endangered species. While some of the exhibition’s artists and scientists directly address environmental concerns, others do so more laterally. However, they all challenge us to confront the potential dangers of ignoring the messages that Vita Vitale conveys, while simultaneously suggesting creative tools and ideas for change. 

Presented by IDEA (International Dialogue For Enviromental Action)

Curated by Artwise (Susie Allen, Laura Culpan and Dea Vanagan)

Commissioned by Heydar Aliyev Foundation

Official Opening 6th May 2015
Open to public 9th May – 22nd November 2015


Edward Burtynsky, Mircea Cantor, Loris Cecchini, Gordon Cheung, Khalil Christee, Tony Cragg, Laura Ford, Noemie Gougal, Siobhan Hapaska, Paul Huxley, IDEA laboratory and Leyla Aliyeva, Chris Jordan with Rebecca Clark and Helen S.Eitel, Tania Kovats, Aida Mahmudova, Sayyora Muin, Jacco Olivier, Julian Opie, Julian Perry, Mike Perry, Bas Princen, Stephanie Quayle, Ugo Rondinone, Graham Stevens, Diana Thater, Bill Woodrow, Erwin Wurm, Andy Warhol and Rose Wylie.

Mike Perry, Flip Flops and Shoes grid x 14, Môr Plastig, 2015

Mike Perry – Môr Plastig

Vita Vitale reflects on the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystem and man’s destructive footprint within it. Môr Plastig, Welsh for ‘Plastic Sea’, captures the impact of both plastic objects upon the living world, and the erosive power of nature. Photographing flip flops and shoes washed up on the coasts of West Wales, Cuba, Tanzania and Sri Lanka, Perry documents plastic pollution in unexpectedly poetic images that detail the objects degradation and transformation by sun, sea and sand. He presents each shoe simply, accentuating and inviting us to contemplate the aesthetic qualities of its erosion, the environmental danger it represents, and the moral of consumerism it embodies.

Mike Perry, Keep Box Fragment, Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2015

IDEA Laboratory

Curated by experimental architect Professor Rachel Armstrong, and drawing inspiration from Venice’s ecological concerns, the IDEA laboratory convenes scientists, artists and designers to spark dialogue about synthesising our technological capabilities and our living realm.

Artist Mike Perry installed a cabinet of plastiglomerates – stones comprising intermingled melted plastic, sand, shells and other beach sediment – which collected along the Welsh coast, including the realisation that we are not only littering the world’s surfaces with plastic, but also geologically inscribing into the Earth’s history our role in its proliferation. He lays bare the impact on the living world of contemporary society’s dependence on disposable plastic.

Mike Perry, Plastigomerate samples, Idea Laboratory, Vita Vitale 2015

“Mike Perry provokes a different relationship with nature. He collects and documents the plastics washed up on our beaches in forensic detail, which are crafted so exquisitely that they appear seamlessly integrated with our marine ecosystems. Perry’s work invites us to consider the new materiality of our living realm and its technological capacities.”

Alison Bracker

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