The end of April brought on the 59th Venice Biennale. Since the last edition of the historic event happened prior to Covid, plenty has changed. Namely, this was the first edition since the dawn of the popularisation of NFTs, which definitely broke ground at the international cultural exhibition. From sponsored immersive events and installations, to multiple NFT-only exhibitions—Web3 was well represented. Below, we spotlight the notable NFTs that were showcased at the Venice Biennale; including Singaporean artist Shavonne Wong‘s mesmerising piece titled, ‘The Kiss’.
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Chimera by mpkoz
Displayed during the Generative Art Special Event, which is co-hosted by Decentral Art Pavilion and focuses on artists and individuals who use NFTs. Stefano Contiero curated 20 ArtBlocks artists into their “Generative Art to the Venice Biennale” in collaboration with SuperchiefNFT and Bright Moments Gallery. The exhibit includes collections of works by two Art Blocks artists, including Chimera by Mpkoz. It will be on display at the European Cultural Centre from its launch on April 23rd until November 27th.
Chimera by Mpkoz is a fully on-chain generative art project consisting of 987 editions published on the ArtBlocks platform. Each Chimera NFT points to the actual code responsible for rendering Chimera. That code is hosted on a block. This differs from most NFTs, which usually point to a media file stored on a third-party server. So each rendering of the artwork is both generative and constantly changing.
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“The Kiss” by Shavonne Wong at the Cameroon Pavillion
A collaborative effort between the Cameroon Pavilion, GCA Dao curators X, ArtNet, and several other partners, including POAP France, brought together a beautiful display of multidisciplinary NFTs in an official Bienalle Pavilion. “The Kiss” by Shavonne Wong is a video rendering that reflects multiple people rotating in a moment of embrace. Wong, a Singapore native and seasoned photographer, takes to 3D to create moments and renderings that go beyond the confines of reality. According to Wong: “Digital art within the context of NFTs still has yet to find a place in the fine art world, so it’s incredible to see it being accepted on a stage like the Venice Biennale.”
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“Observation” by Rafaël Rozendaal at Code X
Observation is a new body of work by Rafaël Rozendaal commissioned for Aorist’s exhibition alongside the 2022 Venice Art Biennale. The series encourages the viewer to slow down and cultivate a meditative practice of close observation and attunement to one’s surroundings, to the passing of time, to the subtle energy flows all around. It is an attempt to communicate the visceral through visual simplicity, to convey feeling through a universal language of colour, form, and motion. Rozendaal notes: “It’s almost like the colours have a weight or physical presence, and are fighting for the space they occupy—moving in sync, like traffic in a dense city.”
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“Seven of Swords” by Justin Aversano at The Decentral Art Pavilion
“Seven of Swords” is from Avensano’s Smoke and Mirrors collection, for which he photographed 78 sets of artists, astrologers, psychics, tarot readers, and other forms of mystics from all around the world. According to Aversano: “Each subject represents a unique tarot card. I am creating a body of work focused on the existence of magic and mysticism through an immersive portrait survey and tarot readings. […] Combining the elements of the real (photographic) and the surreal (painting) to facilitate a broad & reflexive mixed-media dialogue that discerns the characters, their powers, and the significance of their presence in this natural world.”
This was on display on a screen at The Decentral Art Pavilion alongside 200+ works by artists including Xcopy, Coldie, and Trevor Jones. SuperRare and several curators, including Florencia S.M. Brück, Javier Krasuk, Diego Lijtmaer, and Simone Furian, helped make this massive curatorial effort a reality.
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“Social Sacrifice” by Studio Drift at Ocean Space
DRIFT staged their first-ever indoor aerial drone performance titled Social Sacrifice alongside the 2022 Venice Art Biennale—and it was epic. Exploring the swarming dynamics exhibited by a school of fish encountering a predator, the work featuring over 100 live indoor drones highlights the tensions that emerge between collective action and individual freedom, as well as how these change in the presence of external threats. Social Sacrifice is an algorithmic body of work exploring the schooling dynamics exhibited by a school of A.I. fish encountering a group of predator fish. Incredible orchestral audio design by artist and musician Don Diablo complements the experience making it entirely immersive for live viewers who experienced it at Ocean space during the first 20 days of the Biennale.
The experience is preserved as an NFT available via the Aorist platform who helped produce this incredible live event. One of the few, which elevated the art world’s perception of NFTs at this year’s Biennale.