I had the absolute pleasure of spending 3 short days in Venice. Venice was hot and full of tourists, but was still so beautiful and unique. It’s a magical city that floats on water. Venice is composed of 118 little islands all connected by 416 bridges, with 177 canals flowing though it. It was founded in 421, and was very important for trade, making it very powerful. The three things most associated with Venice are the carnival, the glass and the gondolas, but there is so much more to Venice. The Piazza San Marco, which Napoleon said is “the most beautiful salon in the world”, is home to the basilica of St Mark, the Doge’s palace, the Bell Tower and the Clock Tower. You will spot a winged lion very often, whether on top of churches or on flags, for it is the symbol of the city and represents Saint Mark, a patron Saint of the city. The food was great, as you may expect from any place in Italy. Another must is going on the gondolas, which are the typical Venetian boats which gondoliers row only using one, long oar. It is expensive and even the gondoliers make fun of the silly tourists for doing it, but its part of getting the full Venice experience. One of my favourite things in Venice is just walking around the streets. You pass over bridges, walk next to canals, shop at little boutiques, admire the old buildings and just get lost in a surreal world that is so unique.
For the art geeks:
We also visited many museums, two being the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Biennale. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection featured many artists from the 20th century, such as Picasso, Kandinsky, Calder, Warhol, and many more. Peggy Guggenheim herself is a very interesting character. She was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. She was born into a rich family and inherited her fathers weather when he went down with the Titanic in 1912. It was believed that, while living in Europe, “she slept with 1,000 men” and had affairs with numerous writers and artists. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. Pieces in her collection embrace Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. Peggy Guggenheim careen belongs in the hoister of the 20th century of art. She used to say that it was her duty to protect the art of her time and she dedicated her life to this mission. People say that her life revolved around three things, art, sex and her dogs. “I look back at my life with great joy. I think it was a very successful life. I always did what I wanted and never cared what anyone thought. Women’s lib? I was a liberated women long before there was a name for it.” She had a strong and unique personality and standing in the limelight was what she did best. She also loved Venice saying, “to live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself.”
We also went to the 56th Biennale. The curator of the exhibition was Okwui Enwezor, and 136 participants. I really loved the Biennale and the 56th one was especially interesting. It was quite dark and many countries had art that was very powerful in the sense of having a strong message. Many problems of this generation were brought to light through many of the artists work. Violence, politics, labor and inequality were Enwezor’s major themes and spoke loud and clear through the art. The first room in the whole exhibition is one I remember clearly. There were flowers coming out of the ground made of swords by an artist called Adel Abdessemed and titled them “Nympheas”. In the same room, there were lights flashing all with powerful words and meanings by the artist Bruce Nauman. The first room was already shocking and controversial and I loved it for that reason. There were some countries who’s art was amazing, and some countries who were really disappointing such as my own country, Austria. In my own art and in the many art projects I will be doing in the future, one of my goals is always to incorporate a message that will be remembered and the Biennale was great in showing me how to do so successfully.
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