After a long arduous journey, interspersed with moments of frenetic activity, with connections too closely timed, I arrived sans luggage and jet lagged in Venice. Of course it was worth it all to be in this wonderful city. I am staying with another artist from New Zealand, Veronica Green, who lives and works in Venice. Her lovely home is in St Elena, a beautiful peaceful and authentic part of Venice far from the tourist hordes. Finding Veronica was one of those crazy coincidences that New Zealanders, only ever 2° removed, enjoy.
My first day in Venice started with a very early morning (jet lag/time zone insomnia) stroll through the cobbled streets and cool green parks of St Elena, then along the waterfront towards Giardini. I was smitten! The day before a tornado had blown through, taking away the heatwave that might have overcooked my ardour. I was captivated by the details, everywhere I looked were small accidents of antiquity. I photographed the little strips of metal and plaster, that hold the stone bridges together, every one an individual piece of raw jewellery.
Later I went to the Biennale at Giardini, where the scale was very different, but there were still many gems. Amongst my favourites were the Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz, with the very elegant, disorientating but compelling installation, 'Our Product', and the much photographed 'A Key in the Hand', by Chiharu Shiota, of Japan. I had seen many beautiful images of this installation, but they fail to convey the immense scale, and the fragrant smell of burnt wood and metal. As someone who makes things as opposed to writing about them, my first question was, where did she get so many keys??
Mesmerising video/projection installations that impressed, were the Russian 'Green Pavillion', Irina Nakhova, and Koreans, Moon Kyung and Jeon Joonho with, 'The Ways of Folding Space and Flying'. Worst was the video, with sound, of a man vomiting blood.
I was captivated by the visceral materiality and scale of the huge Oscar Murillo, 'signalling devices in a now bastard territory'. Twenty massive 'flags' made from black oilskin and other materials hung across the front of the main Pavillion. Inside I was drawn to the work of Australian artist Daniel Boyd, who works with charcoal and glue on polyester, to create large paintings.
I'll post some photos from my phone, the rest are still trapped on my camera.
The following day I went to Arsenale....and after Giardini, that was quite a different experience! More to follow...arreviderci!