Making it to the Venice Biennale. Or, almost so…

In late autumn 2016 I was approached by the Dutch Global Art Affairs – GAA – Foundation about which you may read here.

Large art and architecture exhibitions are organised every year during the Venice Biennale period hosted and supported by the European Cultural Centre.

Like numerous other exhibitions all over Venice in that period, the GAA exhibitions are listed as part of the Biennale program.

As you’ll see here, their exhibitions can be found in two palaces – Mora and Bembo in the heart of Venice.

It goes without saying that I was very excited about this contact. It wasn’t an invitation per se but we had a long exploratory Skype talk and the GAA people were planning to integrate photography more than before in their exhibitions, they evidently thought my globally-oriented – photography was relevant and took serious interest in the fact that I was also a peace and conflict researcher with pictures from places like Burundi, Iran and Syria.

We discussed various more or less lofty ideas and recognised that time was actually quite short for me to come up with something original, produce it and mount it all in frames and transport it to Venice for the 13th of May opening.


After all these expressions of mutual interest and quite some affinity between our approaches to the world – such as a staunch resistance to warfare – I took some time to reflect on what I could possibly contribute.

And in passing I thought I’d better learn about the economic aspects of such a co-operation before devoting too much energy and getting really engaged in various ideas and their preparations.

That was when I learned that such a marvellous exhibition opportunity comes with a price. A few wall metres would run around โ‚ฌ 12.000. To this I would have to add production, printing, framing, insurance, transport of the works and myself being there for some time and talk with visitors etc – say, ending up at โ‚ฌ 20.000.

This was way beyond my financial capacity. As it would be, I assume, for many artists not already famous and selling at high prices. Fund-raising for such an event would have taken more time than was available.

But I really wish I could have said yes there and then.

I recognise that running such a foundation isn’t cheap, that palace square metres in Venice must be very expensive and that the general prices in all of Venice are much higher than usual during the Biennale season – and that is May 13 to November 26 this year.

Be this as it may, it opens today, May 13, 2017. And of course, it would have been great to be there.

I’m neither sorry nor disappointed at all, I feel encouraged that such a fine art institution was interested in exploring a co-operation with me. I mean it would be “Wooowww!…to be part of the globally oriented GAA Foundation/European Cultural Centre and the Biennale for me.

I’m of course going to visit the GAA people when later this year I’m anyhow there and plough through Venice and its amazing Biennale – according to many connoisseurs still the most important art event in the world.

I want to see the GAA exhibitions and surely enjoy the palaces and their ambience. And meet their people ‘live’ for the first time.

And should the GAA Foundation be interested in my participation in 2019, I better set myself up on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or wherever.

Sooner rather than later.

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