The Venice Biennale is like the Oscars of art ceremonies, with most of the countries you can think of represented in national pavillions in the Giardini at the the north of the island, or in the vast halls of the ancient Arsenale nearby. If you pay the entry fee of 25e you can see either one, then come back another day and see the other. There are also free exhibits are scattered across the city in curious rooms lapped by canal water, or elegantly decaying palazzi overlooking boats swishing past. Grab a map in a bar or at the station, and start hiking (sometimes you have to catch a vaporetto and it's a good idea to buy an all-day travel card). Do wear a hat.
|Ai Weiwei watched by prison guards|
|Congolese soldiers in a hot pink war - can beauty convey suffering?|
On my last day I wandered into a palazzo called the Future Generation Art Prize, and I joined a small group of people in a lavishly furnished Venetian room. They were watching a young man dry-humping the white sheets of a four-poster bed. I watched for a few minutes, thinking how lusty and naughty in the afternoon, feeling like a total voyeuse. What cheek(s)!
No photographs of that, sorry ladies, but here are some other arty glimpses.
|Jeremy Deller's English Magic - hawk clutches Range Rover in his critique of wealth|
|David Bowie steps out on hIs 1972 tour, a year Deller examines through image|
|Chinese sweetness and kitsch|
|This man is an island - from the Finnish Pavillion|
|The marvellous and manic work of Sarah Sze from the USA|
|Body talk on the lagoon|
|Sumptuous palazzo detail - sigh !|