Saturday, 9 May 2015

"WORD ON THE CANALS" is at VENICE BIENNALE 2015," a snippet.. going back for more".

I wanted to be in so many places at once this week. Tracey Emin was showing in Rome tonight  and I love her and her work. I had to miss it as I was staying at the Mayr Clinic.   Last week I fainted on the way back from Palm Springs and I needed to have endless check ups, so The Mayr in their usual efficiency found out everything about my body. I am perfectly okay. Phew. They told me I lived off adrenalin. Of course I do and black coffee. I have to go back very soon there is a whole lifetime of bad habits to repair.  I find their regime totally brilliant.

On my way home I dropped into The Venice Biennale  which opened today and is luckily on until November. There were plenty of eccentrics visiting, Women with wild hair, black dresses, huge jewellery wearing knuckle dusters and strange bracelets. Stylish blonde haired nubile creatures talking deep into the night.. The art world character is special, unusual.  The enthusiasts all have something different about them, architectural glasses, a red rim round a jacket, colourful shoes, an unusual watch strap. It is an ideal habitat for the cockatoo.

I was having a drink last night on the buzzy terrace at The Gritti Palace, full of glamorous looking people like Liz Hurley, Simon and Carine Lee and David Gill. I sat next to a dapper middle aged man who I did not know. He whispered to me that he wanted to throw the ashes of his deceased mother into the canal. He told me she had had her first gin and tonic at the Palace, he intended to celebrate the event with me. The place was packed but despite this he gently put the ashes into a napkin and let them slip into the water.  Everybody was unaware what the gentleman was doing, but it was a heart rending moment and added to all that has been wonderful in the last day and a half. This was art tself.


Word on the canals in Venice is that there is so much money at stake that the artist has little time to create totally new work. They are known for something and they are almost persuaded to stick with it.  The poor artist has to be an accountant for the most part,  making things not from the heart and soul but for the new type of owner, who twenty years ago would be more interested in owning a Ferraris than an Emin. As I walked around  Venice I could sense that you can buy any artists work in all sizes, like shoes, 39.5, 42, 44 and so on, something that fits.   There is pressure from the Gallerists to sell, and artists to produce. Endless art shows give them little time for reinvention.
There is also the whole social life that goes with it. The entertaining, the huge yachts, the dinners. The artists were clearly weary even if they had been supported and created.

"Was Sarah Lucas shocking?" everybody spoke in hushed hallowed voices. Sarah is Great Britain's candidate for our Pavilion.  Part of the "Young British Artist's", Charles Saatchi curated long ago.  She had made a female body having "sex" over a desk with a cigarette placed strategically, rather than erotically. Subversion. In fabulous light drenched yellow rooms, that could have made me feel happy, she displayed her work, it actually left me feeling sad.  Knowingly or not, there were some Franz West moments as I studied her show bathed in warming sunlight. Another piece showed a woman being sick in the loo and again another cigarette. "This is violent sex" I think?. I always love that idea, but my love life is so gentle in comparison. But, there we are, Sarah Lucas is part of the rough and tough world of the East End of London, part of the Goldsmith 'Rat pack'.

At lunch I listened to two young art dealers gossiping,  fanatics, sitting on the stunning roof at the Danieli. They discussed whether Lucas was mischievous  rather than depraved?. No conclusions were made as the wine slipped down.

I am different. I am amused by  tea ceremonies and Japanese Gardens, fruits of unusual forests and silence. I am more in tune with Huroshi Sugimoto. In love with the 'idea of romance' in the tea room in a glass box, surrounded by a perfect garden. I loved this. An exotic simple idea for a city garden in London.

I loved the Japanese Pavillion, Chiharu Shiota piece "The Key in the Hand" I find it very attractive and moving, keys are strange yet normal memories to past and present souls. I don't know why but last week I threw away my keys to my apartment at Rue Mechain, without thinking, it was a love nest I had in the heart of Montparnasse, built by Mallet Stevens. I felt the keys were my only real object that kept my soul there. Perhaps I wanted to break the apron strings to my Parisian romances?

Tonight I was speaking to my ex who said that Venice was so trashy, I didn't see that side of it, I met a series of amusing and talented people, but of course men on the loose will always find their suitable bed mates. unfortunately trashy sells, people love it. Nothing trashy about the Pinault party which opened Venice, here reported by Franca Sozzani, who looked totally stunning compared to the her American counterparts this week.
So does religion sell. Christoph Buchel representing Iceland  decided it was interesting to set up a mosque installation in a church, causing a flurry of Muslims to pray in the artwork. This sent alarm bells throughout Venice. A freedom of expression. Of course this is nothing new, after all there are many churches that have been taken over and turned into Mosques, Christianity being the older religion. I can see why this was controversial, but everything is political here at the Biennale. The Brazilian Pavilion and the Serbian too, I was perhaps most touched by the film I saw in Brazils show "So much it doesn't fit here". A woman running through a prison with an Olympic flame and hands from the prisoners reaching out to her. Thousands are kept under lock and key there. The Armenian Pavilion won with heart rending tales from several artists. I did not get a chance to see it, next time. My feet need to rest.

My favourite pieces that filled my hear was by Jaume Plensa was called "Together" it felt like the old black film white dream sequences. Beautifully made and totally stunning.

I also was enthralled and spent ages at The Australian Pavilion where artist Fiona Hall had played with family objects, in a witty and interesting way.

With so little time and so much to see I will need an excuse to visit Venice at least for another 4 days to completely see what this years Biennale has to offer. Then there is the shopping which is a wonderful relief from the walking. Good food and Harry Ciprianis.

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