This time last week, I was on a University trip in Venice, Italy. The trip was 5 days; November 2nd – 6th and we went specifically to Venice for the annual Biennale; Art festival. Below is my diary of the trip with photo’s from each day:
The first day was spent doing a tour around Venice, visiting many of the churches and cathedrals as well as the individual Pavilions. The Bienniale is a specialist site in Venice, split into two areas; Giardini and Arsenale, where countries dominate a single house/pavilion in the site and in there are the artworks from either one or several artists of that country. The individual pavilions around Venice are the countries that didn’t make it into the specialised sites of the Biennale, but are still part of it. Reflecting on this now, I much preferred the individual exhibitions around Venice, as you discovered more of Venice and you can be walking down a random walkway and stumble upon a house of art. On this day, we visited around 8 pavilions of different countries, no two were the same, each one was very interesting.
The first of two days at the Biennale was today, visiting the Giardini, just a 10 minute boat ride from the hotel. This is the bigger of the sites and is known as the central/main area; featuring the leading countries/pavilions. The more known artists were featured here too, and it was a really interesting experience – going into one art gallery and then leaving to go into another. Again there were no two areas the same and each one was very impressive – my favourite being the Japanese Pavilion ‘the key in hand’; absolutely mesmerizing (red, key and boat image):
The second day at the Biennale was spent at the Arsenale, a stop just before Giardini, however our group of 4 set off at a different time to other groups and we ended up getting lost. But it was the best mistake we made, we were able to visit practically the whole of Venice on the wrong boat, instead of it taking us the usual 10 minute boat ride, we got to our destination half an hour later, but it was a wonderful experience.
This site was more condensed than the Giardini, and included one large main building and 2 smaller, rather than the many small houses at the Giardini. I much preferred the Giardini to the Arsenale, the placement, layout, art, content were all superior and it generally felt better to see many different exhibitions that were curated excellently, rather than one large show that felt compressed together that the Arsenale produced. Don’t get me wrong the art was still fantastic, my highlight photos are below, specifically the Bruce Nauman Neon’s, but the Giardini felt very other like, the Arsenale felt too much like Tate in London:
I can honestly say I have fallen in love with Venice, It was extremely sad at the thought of leaving, but today we were given free reign to what we wanted to do. At this point, I admit I was completely art-ed out; I adore art, but after 3 solid days of it, it was time to relax and enjoy Venice.. We then used the day to shop, visit more sites, take last photos and spend our last Venetian meal at the Hard Rock Cafe. This has been such a fantastic trip and I’m coming away with so much inspiration and ideas for my own practice: