Art Travel

The Day I Fell into the Canale Grande and some More Impressions from My First Venice Biennale

12. May 2017

This is a very brief note for you to share my experience here in Venice at this year’s Biennale “Viva Arte Viva”. When I thought about Venice before this trip, I mainly thought about 100,000 tourists per day walking through the Laguna, its rich history and heritage of art and architecture and Casanova. It sounds like a cliché but I had not been to Venice since I was a teenager and I was really excited to go back this year for the Art Biennale.

Already at the airport, I could immediately spot the art crowd – most of them dressed in black, the ladies with angular haircuts or ballerina buns placed on strange locations of their head and interesting glasses. As I was accredited as a member of the press, I went to the Giardini – one of the two major locations of the Biennale – very early on the first morning. And later on, I realized this was a good idea, because for some reason, by the early afternoon, the whole place was crowded with so many people who clearly had other interests than reporting from this event. Which is a shame, because it was quite tough to make decent pictures at this time of the day.

For all those of you who have not been to the Biennale yet, the concept is the following: in the Giardini, there are pavilions for each participating country. These pavilions are actual buildings and have been erected for this special purpose. The Arsenale, which is usually not open to the public, is also host of artworks. In addition to these two, throughout the city, there are the pavilions of the countries which are not represented at these two locations. Moreover, all across the city there are events in galleries and museums, e.g. a Damien Hirst exhibition at Palazzo Grassi and Punto della Dogana – which you will also see in my video which I will upload this weekend. Unfortunately, a lot of press reps and artists have been turned away by snooty staff at multiple locations. We have heard about this from a lot of people and experienced it ourselves at eg. the Azerbaijan Pavilion. It could be a sign that the Biennale has become an event rather catering the party crowd with a lesser focus on the artists themselves. But let’s see what the next days will bring.

The highlight so far was my exclusive interviews for you with Erwin Wurm and Brigitte Kowanz – this year’s artists of the Austrian pavilion. Brigitte Kovancz is well-known for her light installations and Erwin Wurm attracts a lot of visitors to the Austrian pavilion with his truck that he “parked” in a vertical position.

Artwork by Erwin Wurm at the Austrian pavilion

I also had an awesome time at the opening of the Finnish pavilion. The artists explained the background for their video installation – an egg and a box leading a discussion about the state of Finland. I have some footage for you in my video, which I will upload this weekend. I think it was actually one of the artworks I liked most.

And because I aim at taking the best pictures for you, I take some risks. My friends know that despite my organizational skills, I am quite a clumsy person. When I wanted to take a picture of the canal and the Gondoliere, I slipped and dipped into the Canale Grande.

The spot where I fell into the canal.

And didn’t even think if I hurt myself or what could have happened. I was just so worried about my camera and the pictures I had already taken. This is my personal sacrifice for you, NOT embarrassing at all!  J

Looking great with my camouflage pattern made by Canale Grande 🙂

Stay tuned for all articles and videos that I will upload within the next couple of days. If you have any questions which you would like to know about the Biennale or content that I should include for you, please do let me know about it in the comment section. I would like to bring this art event to your living room.

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