Several national pavilions in Giardini are this year unrecognizable from their usual look & feel. Artists commissioned to mount a show within these buildings opted for a total transformation of the given space (interior and often also exterior), rather than for presentation of an individual work within. All the results are quite spectacular and the effect of estrangement works really well.
For the U.K. Pavilion, Mike Nelson reconstructed a 17th century caravanserai situated in the Mercan area of Istanbul. Thomas Hirschhorn’s Swiss Pavilion is a universe created from aluminium foil, cotton stubs, glass fragments, magazines, barbies, cell phones, tape etc – seeing is believing ;-).
The all-immersing, dark and reflecting interior with full-wall video projections of the Japanese Pavilion will quickly swallow you in and so will the church-like transformation of the Padiglione Germania, alias Egomania.
The minimal conversion of the usually architecturally uninteresting Greek building is so beautiful, that we vote for its preservation for the coming years!