58th Venice Biennale
At the Arsenale, Sale d'Armi, Swatch Pavilion
Drawing from her past experiences of traveling and living in China eight and ten years ago, and recently returning via Shanghai and Chongqing, Tracey Snelling gathers information through the process of wandering, observing, participating, and documenting. Not concerned with exact replication, Snelling creates a China-inspired world comprised of her own images and video, as well as found media, including a Chongqing rap video by the artist’s friend Jin Cheng. She gathers props and paraphernalia, placing trophies and Tsingtao beer cans on a large tenement of buildings, transforming it into a display case for her souvenirs. A pile of small-scale buildings is predominantly made up of places Snelling has visited, with video from her personal experience. A secret bar on Fuzhou Lu plays video of Snelling and her friends mixing drinks with the bar owner; a tattoo shop in a nearby “locals” mall shows the artist getting her latest tattoos. The large wall-size collage with video is one of a series of installations that Snelling refers to as Clusterfucks, where various original and collected images and footage mix in a clash of color, light and turbulence. The different works in the installation play off of each other in a cacophony of layered visuals, lights, and sound, capturing Snelling’s complex and varied experiences of a chaotic, beautiful, and sometimes challenging country.