I recently visited Venice – the Biennale, of course. Art critics, directors and commentators have many sophisticated views about the Biennale. That’s fine with me. I take it as a week-long bombardment of inspiration and – mostly – wonderful experiences in what is still one of the world’s most amazing, charming and picturesque cities.
I come home confirmed that there is a lot of dynamic, creative and visionary things going on – but, of course, that there are no standards anymore as to what is and what is not quality – not to speak of what is and is not art.
Venezia Collage # 4 © Jan Oberg 2011
However, what I want to alert you to is – if you can’t go there – the fact that Venice is in need of our help, overexploited as it is. The tourism industry – I was just a part of it myself, albeit art tourism… – will kill the city sooner or later. Sooner, according to some who know.
But there is hope thanks to the Venice in Peril Fund that has raised millions of £ for the city’s future.
Venice in Peril was created already in 1966. Here is what this organization says in it brochure:
“Flooding is not the only threat to Venice. Tourism, transport, industry and changing demographics are all having a significant impact…Venice in Peril funds research to provide this understanding and makes it widely available so that policy-makers have the tools they need to tackle the problems.”
Much more on their website. You can support this important Fund which, btw, is located in London.
But here is such a wonderful, constructive initiative that cannot be spread far enough – thought up with the great intention to save Venice:
Venice in Peril, in collaboration with Ivorypress and generous backers, has launched a major art initiative to raise funds for Venice. Fourteen artists using the medium of photography have been commissioned to visit the city and with absolute freedom make a portfolio of images. They have all donated an edition of their portfolios to Venice in Peril.
This has lead to a fantastic exhibition – and book – which started out in Venice, is now in London and will then t our the world. It’s called “Real Venice” – and the amazing photos of some of the best contemporary art photographers can be seen on their website.
One work of each artist will be sold at an auction on 3 November 2011 at Phillips de Pury & Company in London, straight to the benefit of Venice.
That is how art photography can be put to work for a better world – not only to give us joy and make us see the world through amazing new lenses but also to raise funds desparately needed to save an art space without which humanity would be much poorer.
If you can’t buy one of these quite expensive work at that auction, perhaps you can order the book from Ivorybooks.com at € 39.90. The sales support Venice too and it is a surprisingly cheap book given the extraordinary photos and superb printing quality.
I bought it in Venice, and it gives me joy every day at the photo book table of my gallery – and also offers me the opportunity to try to spread the message to my visitors: Save Venice!
PS Above is # 4 of a “Venezia Collage” Series of 4 that I created after having been there. I hope it gives you a flavour of that city.