Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Venice Biennale

We are due to meet at the columns at St Mark's Square at 10.00am before we set off for the Venice Biennale at the Giardini and Arsenale. Red and I have a delightful sparring chatter as we make our way there. We manage to buy a very good rapper hat for her to set off the Japanese designer gear she favours.

One of the highlights of the 54th Biennale is the French artist Christian Boltanski's work, CHANCE, made up of the works, The Wheel of Fortune, the Births, The Deaths and Be New. <> or for further information <>

Christophe Schlingenseif's work in the German pavilion is also a do not miss. A Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within. These works document his work over a period of time, particularly his confrontation with cancer and the impact on his body. Better than it sounds.

Mike Nelson's work at the British Pavillion is a standout. Creating a link between two great former mercantile centres, Istanbul in the East and Venice in the West, Nelson transforms the British Pavillion building a labyrinth of rooms. He has removed the roof structure of the building. We are amazed. We are in a past, once ours-a post industrial factory perhaps. Tools of trade dusty and forgotten, small abandoned rooms heavy with age and accumulated dust. The impact is cumulative and powerful.

We bump into Anthony Gormley. I remind him that my nephew, George Kailis worked with him on the Menzies project. He remembers George with gusto and I promise to pass on his good wishes.

We break for lunch, Stephano's favourite restaurant when he was a student and still exceptional in the Venesian food pantheon. Trattoria Corte Sconta, Calle del Pestrin 3886.

A table has been set for us in an enclosed courtyard under the vines, now heavy with green bunches. A starter of marinaded tuna and white swordfish with celeriac and juniper berries, served with Proscheto and sparkling water. Bowls of Vongole follow flavoured with ginger and lemon, platters of local seafood arrive, minute shrimp crisp and orange, marinaded octopus, stuffed baby squid, small crustasions accompanied with crispy bread.

Dessert, a pale peach coloured parfait of passionfruit served with wild strawberries, minced paw paw, mint and passionfruit. This is food like no other. A feast of flavours and served with such grace. I am sitting with Marlene Stafford and Veronique Ramen. We discuss the gallery fundraising program. This is Marlene's baby.

The afternoon is filled with more artwork spotting. Argentina was a find. Sculptures of giant proportions in grey concrete. I'm back at the hotel now. Tonight we dine at the Lido. What will I wear?

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