The Venice Biennale
For hundreds of years, writers and travelers have marveled at the beauty of Venice and sung the praises of the city of wonder. If ever a city has been the quintessential example of beauty and grace, love and magical pleasures, that city is Venice. Venice, only approached by sea, emerges before your eyes with domes and pinnacles and towers on the horizon.
Free of motorized traffic, the tiny streets are accessible by walking, and the rest either by gondola, boat or swimming. As I came in via water taxi, I set my eyes on the palaces and churches, big and small, that are jewels of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
I also noticed how Venice has changed since I have been there over 20 years ago, There are many more nationalities represented, and it feels like the world has gotten smaller. Instead of trying to brave the throngs of tourists to see the Ventian art throughout the city, I concentrated on the seeing the Biennale which represents artists from every country. The Biennale is a special temporary exhibition, absorbing the magic of the city and the beauty of the gardens and surrounding areas.
The 54th Biennale titled lIluminations, takes place in various locations throughout Venice. In the Giardini, pavilions have been commissioned over the years by the various nations taking part in the Venice Art Exhibition. Immersed in nature, these buildings are designed by some of the leading names in 20th C. architecture.
Contemporary art is all about bringing the work as close to the real world as possible, to the point where it risks becoming impossible to tell where the art ends and the world starts. It takes the the quotidian and turns it upside down.
Illuminations is truly a unique and eye opening experience. The endeavor was to establish a rhythm, like poetry; as well as creating unexpected encounters between works and artists from difference cultural backgrounds working with different mediums.
Here is a sampling of what I saw:
After two straight days of seeing, watching, observing and digesting the entire Biennale, the best antidote was watching a 24-hour movie called The Clock shown right in the middle of the Biennale. The Clock is a 24-hour piece composed of filmic moments in which characters interact with timepieces. Each signing corresponds with the real time, so I delved into the past century of cinema yet inhabiting the present.
I knew when it was time to catch my train back without looking at my watch.