Venice Biennale Diary May 11

The art crowds are in the Giardini or Arsenale until 7 pm, on the far side of the island. Whichever day or time would have clashed with other major events but perhaps in hindsight, I might have been better off doing the opening on Thursday when the pre-biennale buzz was at its height. However, the opening of the exhibition Alive in the Universe was on Thursday, which is showing 6 of my films and on a personal level, I didn’t want to miss that.

May 11

This morning I collect my laptop from the gallery, which has been playing my films in the window all night. I wear my running gear and lightly run through the morning crowds. En-route walking home I pick up groceries and plan brunch around a fresh plump burrata from the deli near the gallery that constantly plays rock and disco anthems. Supermarkets in Italy have the best produce than any other country I have been to and simple food is so much better prepared at home than any restaurant.

I have a restful few hours ahead to catch up with computer-based work. It’s the final hours before my official exhibition opening and I’d like to make sure I have everything printed and displayed and that I rest my voice before hosting this small party.

The forecasted made me decide not to do a live drawing during the opening reception but we tentatively set up drinks and snacks outside. I wear a dress, jewelry, and heels and feel a different person from my usual paint-splattered self of late. It wasn’t a crowded opening but I hadn’t expected it to be. Starting at 6.30 on the day that the Biennale opens and the golden lion is awarded was always going to be mostly friends. The art crowds are in the Giardini or Arsenale until 7 pm, on the far side of the island. Whichever day or time would have clashed with other major events but perhaps in hindsight, I might have been better off doing the opening on Thursday when the pre-biennale buzz was at its height. However, the opening of the exhibition Alive in the Universe was on Thursday, which is showing 6 of my films and on a personal level, I didn’t want to miss that.

In any case, my friends were with me and many passers-by stepped inside including artists from the Ivory Coast and Bahrain pavilions. They left their details and I plan to meet with them over the next few days in their pavilions. A young arts management student asked me questions that were filmed and put online. Anita, the gallery owner cooked traditional Italian snacks, gave me a hand-made comments and contacts book and friends bought flowers. A group of us had a delicious meal afterwards at the restaurant on the corner. It was a special evening on many levels.

My cold is between feverish and streaming but if this were not the case I probably wouldn’t be sleeping. I could stay up all night and be on the move all day – there are so many things I want to be doing. Tomorrow Anita is giving a Japanese calligraphy workshop in the gallery. I would like to participate but friends visiting from London, New York, and Brazil are going to the Arsenale and they leave town over the next day or two.  I would also like to go back there and see more of the show. And my body is telling me to rest. Rain is forecast for the entire day tomorrow. We were lucky this evening it just rained while we ate indoors.

Photos by Mark Edward


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