A second trip to Venice in the same year. An absolute luxury I must say. We were travelling back to Europe in September 2009 and felt that our business with Venice’s Biennale earlier this year was not finished, so we booked in for a further 9 days and still, we still haven’t seen it all.
We returned to the Biennale’s Arsenale location and this time we were not fatigued or overwhelmed as we were last visit by all the art at the major Giardini Island location. So we took our time to view the works with more consideration. Previously we had even missed the Italian art pavilion at the rear of the Arsenale buildings and there found many new artists we were not familiar with to keep us interested.
On another island, a painting exhibition was on view in the lobby areas of the Hilton Hotel. Here Italian artist Monica Marioni’s paintings paled into insignificance but by sharp contrast her installation in the small gallery space at the back of the Hilton was worth the special trip to Giudecca Island. This was one of the ‘collateral’ exhibitions, where many artists exhibit in non official art locations throughout the city of Venice. NB The Hilton hotel is housed in the Molino Stucky building, a former flour mill and granary.
Although I did not appreciate the Bruce Nauman work in the American Pavilion at the Giardini location I really thought his works outside the official venues reinstated his reputation. The coloured neon lighting strips hung in the loggia of the University of Architecture and his second exhibition in the same venue comprised of recorded sounds that spoke to you as you walked down the centre of the exhibition. Each voice repeated a day of the week.
We spent some time viewing the Fondazione Prada’s major exhibition of American pop artist John Wesley in its two buildings and finally had chance to visit the contemporary art collection amassed by businessman François Pinault at the Punta della Dogana, a former shipping building that has recently been converted to an art gallery.
By 19th October 277,000 visitors had been through the Biennale. There has been an average of 2,072 visitors per day. The Biennale closes on 22 November, 2009. We are planning a return for the next one in 2011.