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An Expert’s Guide To The Venice Biennale

History-Zero at Venice-Biennale.Photo: Bruno Cordioli

An Expert’s Guide To The Venice Biennale

26 June 2013

If you’re travelling to Venice anytime between now and November, you’re in for a treat. The city is hosting the 55th Venice Biennale d’Arte, a summer-long art exhibition studded with the best of contemporary art. There’s a lot to take in, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pack it all into a two-, or three-day trip. Fret not. Delhi-based curator and Nature Morte Gallery director Peter Nagy was there for the opening, and gives us his pick of the must-sees, and must-dos: 

(1) My favourite national pavilion was that of Greece which, of course, one enters into it with great curiosity given the economic scenario of the past few years. On display is a triptych of short films by Stefanos Tsivopoulos entitled “History Zero”, these being portraits of three people: a collector, an artist and a homeless immigrant, all shot in Athens itself. 

(2) Easy to miss in the sprawling space of the Arsenale is a film by the Italian artist Yuri Ancarani, this as part of Massimiliano Gioni’s exhibition “The Encyclopedic Palace.”

(3) One is always overwhelmed by the plethora of exhibitions spread all over Venice during the Biennale. Particularly notable and only possible in Venice is “A Very Light Art” curated by Cornelia Lauf at the Ca’ Rezzonico. 

(4) Thankfully restored and always on view is the Olivetti showroom designed by the great Italian architect Carlo Scarpa in 1957, on one side of Piazza San Marco. The typewriters and adding machines of the day now look as if they are exotic contraptions from the Renaissance and Scarpa’s use of materials and detailing is both prophetic and at times surprisingly Japanese.

(5) When in Venice, one should spend quality time with at least one painting by the great master Giovanni Bellini. 

(6) Worth a visit is the sumptuously rejuvenated The Gritti Palace, Venice, for an immersion into the decadent luxuries of Venice. 

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