La Biennale di Venezia 2017 through Ann Roberts’ eyes

During the buildup to the Biennale I went online and researched what to do with loads of spare time in Venice. I found a bookbinding course in the country where I could hand bind the book I would make to keep my daily visual diary. Now a week after the opening of South Africa’s most critically acclaimed Pavilion at the 57th Biennale Arte I am thinking I might do a doodle on my boarding pass at the airport.

Venice has been extraordinary. The challenges of setting up a 3 rooms, 10 screens with complex audio tracks and sound insulation in a city where the chief mode of transport is a boat or your feet should not be underestimated. Tourist tat is everywhere but 6 headphone amplifiers … not so much.

As Vernissage week begins the city is filled to the brim with the global who’s who in the art world and the lunches, dinners and parties begin. The packed launch or “vernissage” of the South African Pavilion by our delightful and supportive Consul General from Milan Ms. Titi Nxumalo kicked off 3 days of nonstop meeting, networking and partying.

The satisfaction of receiving our first review and to be listed by Arsty in The Venice Biennale’s 11 Best Pavilions is indescribable.

The SA Pavilion team and representing artists Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng really knocked it out of the park.

For the first time, South Africa had a Friends of the South African Pavilion initiative enabling private and corporate support of our venture in Venice. Plane loads (literally) of South African supporters descended upon Venice and the camaraderie and cross pollinating of networks was deeply gratifying in an often viciously competitive industry.

I believe we made a massive leap into the a positive and encouraging future of the South African pavilion at the Biennale Arte in Venice.

The Economist explains: 

A selection of Press links: