VENICE BIENNALE DIARY JUNE 1

I have finished the sketchbook inspired by the British painter Frank Auerbach, whose work has been showing the Alma Zevi gallery along the street from me. Like him, I have quickly sketched the scene outside my studio repetitively over a series of days as a means to get more connected with the subject. Perhaps I will turn these drawings into a painting.

By Claire Zakiewicz

June 1

Today I have to finish up the last bits of work at the gallery and also at Mark’s studio. It is hot and I walk slowly despite being late. There is some resistance in me around finishing up. Perhaps I really don’t want to leave, but I know I will be back in a few weeks. Anita has invited me to a workshop on June 22 and 23 and to also work on making a book together. I’m going to change the work that I left with her 2 years ago for the book project – update my ideas and work towards something new after this trip is over. Perhaps something reflective or development on what I have done or otherwise something new. I discuss with a friend how the problem with art is that artists can do anything. Perhaps the trick is to find the thing that gives the most amount of energy.

I have finished the sketchbook inspired by the British painter Frank Auerbach, whose work has been showing the Alma Zevi gallery along the street from me. Like him, I have quickly sketched the scene outside my studio repetitively over a series of days as a means to get more connected with the subject. Perhaps I will turn these drawings into a painting. I have gifted the book to Anita, who made the actual book and gave it to me two years ago. It feels good to have completed it – even though I certainly could have continued working in it. Resolution is so hard to find – but I think about it – sketchbooks are never really meant to be resolved finished works. They reflect a process towards something – to get more familiar with a subject – a study towards resolution.

I need to buy fixative for the pastel drawings that I made in Mark’s photography studio before packing them away to be stored. The 2.75m x 5m works are possibly too large for a plane journey – especially as I have so much else to carry back to London. I will need to come back for them – perhaps with a van – later in the summer. Otherwise, I will let Mark have them – he might be able to use them as backdrops.

I go to Anita’s gallery for my final job uninstalling the exhibition – taking my lettering off the windows. Anita is doing a calligraphy workshop and I pause there for 30 minutes. The teacher instructs me on how to do vertical and horizontal lines correctly, with attention on entering and exiting the line. I fill at least 30 pages. It is meditative and requires a great deal of control. We move on to Japanese words – torrent and moon, I almost feel that I have moved on too soon. I’d be happy to master the simple line before moving on. I make a note to self – keep practicing what I have learnt for my own line drawings. Although this exhibition was about imprecision, perhaps my next one could be the opposite.

I go to a dinner organised by the curators of the exhibition Alive in the Universe, which I am also part of with video works. The dinner is hosted by the artist Shaun Caton’s and his friend Julius. I also meet the artist Judy Goldhill. David Baldry, is there with his wife Sue Brinkhurst, and the curator Caroline Wiseman. The conversation is lively and stimulating. Shaun asks us all to take part in his performance at the exhibition tomorrow. I have never seen one of Shaun’s performance but I have seen his paintings online and I love them. I am excited to take part and dinner finishes fairly early so we can all be fresh for it.

In Mark Edward Smith’s studio
Claire Zakiewicz, ‘Outside the Gallery: Inside the Sketchbook’ 2019
Claire Zakiewicz, ‘Outside the Gallery: Inside the Sketchbook’ 2019
Claire Zakiewicz, ‘Outside the Gallery: Inside the Sketchbook’ 2019
Salizzada Malipiero
Anita Cerpelloni’s Calligraphy Workshop

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