Venetian Rhapsody – The Power of Bluff. The first thing that captivates the audience at the Korean Pavilion is your dazzling forest of neon signage that sits atop the building. It reminds us of Las Vegas’ streets, lined up with casinos, but, at the same time, it creates an interesting contrast with the greenery surrounding the Korean Pavilion.
Venetian Rhapsody is the result of a rigorous reconsideration that commenced when Cody Choi was invited to show his work at the Korean Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale. In the past, Choi had been somewhat skeptical, and even bitter, about events like the Biennale. The invitation therefore produced a powerful inner conflict that he was obligated to confront. Working through it, he had the opportunity to reflect on the geo-cultural implications of the city of Venice. Venice has been a tourist city whose economy fuses art and commercialism. It is also a city that has inspired grandiose dreams for many artists. It seems to him those who take part in the Venice Biennale are lured and swayed by the city’s glittering image. Perhaps, he is no exception.
A characteristic of the international finance era is that speculative capitalist activities across borders are maximized as finance markets are integrated globally. The result is a gamble table-like financial order. Considering that the United States is a dominant player in international finance and that major international art exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale, contribute to casino capitalism, casino capitalism is both a source of hope and dread to art. I began to search for other cities that share with Venice the power to make people dream and are likewise dominated by commercialism. Two came to my mind: Las Vegas in the West and Macao in the East. I appropriated and re-presented symbols of the two cities in this installation in an attempt to reflect on this conjunction. At the same time, the rooftop location of Venetian Rhapsody is also a bid to overcome the spatial limitations presented by the Korean Pavilion’s unique architecture.
Cody Choi | filmed by Out of Sync | Venice May 2017
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Cody Choi + Lee Wan
© Out of Sync 2019