Venice – October 9, 2019
If the Venice Biennale can be characterized by one word – which of course it can’t – that one word would be overwhelming. From May to end of November, there are 220+ exhibitions!
I was here all of May because I was setting up and following my Silk Peace Art Road (SPAR) installation at Palazzo Mora, at the European Cultural Centre.
I saw quite a few exhibitions – the official Biennale at Giardini and Asenale, Helen Frankenthaler (see my photos on Instagram), Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Fortuny, Cuban artist Carlos Quintana, lots of national pavilions around town and smaller experimenting places such as that with Iranian artists.
And now it is October and I am here again for a week, mainly because I want to be in front of my installation and talk with visitors from all over the world about it and about the future of the world.
I call them my Venice Future Dialogues.
But in between, I run around and re-live some of what I saw back in May and some new exhibitions.
Today I went by boat – the most expensive boat trip you can make in 2 x 2 minutes costing € 10 – to the San Giorgio island just across from San Marco. The purpose was to see Sean Scully’s multimedia exhibition/installation in and around The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore – an exhibition simply called Human.
Here he presents it himself…
The church, the various building around it, its adjacent rooms, corridors, yard and park – all is used by Scully in fascinating ways that have – naturally – religious undertones but also proves the diversity of Scully and what he is – yes, large paintings with controlled and forceful brush strokes but so much more than that, including huge sculptures, drawings, watercolours and, of course, sketches.
It is obvious that he has thought deeply about how to “fill” that unique milieu, history, architecture and beauty of San Giorgio Maggiore.
I am not an art critic, I am an art recommender. I am also not a connoisseur of Sean Scully and I shall make no attempt to explain “Human”. Read instead the links at the end of this article.
But I am, indeed, an admirer of his simple-looking, yet complex paintings. I imbibed every corner of “Human” during the 2-3 hours I was there and felt very happy I had chosen that exhibit (and just a few days before it closed).
The combination of the church and Scully’s works even inspired me to experiment with some photography there and then. It’s about blurring.
Because, while Scully’s brush strokes are certainly not blurred in themselves, his paintings blur the borders between fields and send all spaces and patterns – vibrantly – on the move.
But until I’ve experimented with them, I let the photos from that lovely exhibit speak for themselves.
More about Sean Scully