hidden Venice

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I got about 9 hours of sleep on Saturday night so I woke up feeling refreshed on Sunday morning. After a basic breakfast at the hotel, I started my day of Biennale adventures. I visited the Biennale Palazzo’s and exhibits close to the hotel, starting off the day with an exhibit called: Confronting Anitya – Oriental Experience in Contemporary Art. What I liked the most about the exhibits that were a part of the Biennale were the detailed descriptions of the art and what it meant in the context of the culture it was produced in. Every single exhibit I visited at least had a sheet of paper if not a full brochure which explained the art on display and why it was chosen to represent the country during the Biennale. I checked out another contemporary exhibit called Noise, which used sound as an art form, then I made my way to the top of the Rialto Bridge to meet up with the tour guide for the Hidden Venice tour I had signed up for.

The tour was not quite as “hidden” as I might have hoped, but it did include tidbits of history about Venice which were interesting. We visited the old “Red Light District” of Venice, where women used to stand on the many balconies and exhibit the “goods” they were selling. Evidently, the more well off prostitutes would wear masks during transactions to conceal their identity… Crazy! We mostly covered the San Paolo area of Venice. The tour guide was happy to talk with me about the Biennale exhibits and which he found most interesting, so I could plan out where to go later in the day. We ended the tour at the Basilica Maria Gloriosa del Friari. The church contains the Mausoleum of Titian, one of Italy’s most loved artists, as well as many paintings by Titian, Bellini, and more. Our guide told us about each painting and sculpture of interest in the church, which was way more enlightening than if I had visited the church on my own. The tour was a good way to learn more about what I was seeing and experiencing in Venice without having to conduct my own research.

After the tour, I picked up a cheap Panini and got a strawberry frappe from Grom then headed in the direction of the Grand Canal to visit the Ca’ Foscari. At the Ca’ Foscari was a most interesting exhibit called “the Garbage Patch State”. The artist designed a display made out of bottle caps cascading in the courtyard along with a video box which makes one feel submerged in the water full of waste. Her artistic rendering calls attending to what has been labeled “the Garbage Patch State”, an island made up of plastic mass in the middle of the ocean due to pollution. Also, at the C oscari was the” Lost in Translation” exhibit which stressed the importance of understanding the context of any piece of artwork. The year and the place in which art is created is extremely important to consider when trying to discern the artists’ meaning.

The rest of my day was spent wandering from exhibit to exhibit. The art from the big countries such as America, Australia, England, Russia, and more are on display in the Arsennale during Biennale for an entrance price of 25 Euros. All of the smaller countries exhibits are free. Each year more and more countries participate in the Biennale, resulting in an interesting display of modern art from all over the world showcased in one distinctly scenic location. Everything from videos, to music, to furniture, to paintings, to sculpture, to glasswork, metalwork, to ceramics, and everything in between can be found on display.  Before leaving the city, I took some more time to sit on the Grand Canal and watch the boats go by while eating a sandwich. Then I said goodbye to Venice and headed back to Pisa on the train.

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