The Biennale in Venice 2022 – See what I’ve seen of both (Part 1)

Part 2

Venice, Italy and Lund, Sweden, November 2022

This is a long article in two parts in which I walk you through this world-leading contemporary art space – at least a fraction of it. When it is published, the Venice Biennale 2022 is already closed. In that sense, there is no reason for you to read my highly subjective account. And let me be honest; I know very few who will, and while I write for those few, I write no less for myself.

By writing and selecting from the photos I shot, I re-live the whole adventure (which gives me joy), and I will remember more of the thousands of artworks and artists than I otherwise would. That can be perceived as selfish, but I do share what I’ve seen with whoever is interested.

Apart from some art bloggers, I wonder how many of the 500 000 visitors collect their thoughts and share them with others afterwards? Or to put it differently: Most people seem to take in art through their phones more than through their eyes – it’s like: I can always look at it later, I want to keep it, re-live it. But do they really? And do they share?

Another point is that an event like the Biennale is unique in time and space.

One day it is physically closed down, on a later day the homepages and news articles about it will be closed, or they end up in archives less accessible. There is something fascinating for me in having recorded a bit from something important that is no longer there and will also never be reconstructed. You may see it as a tiny, again subjective “see-what-I-have-seen” contribution to art history – eminently possible to do thanks to the new technologies.

So don’t aim to read it all, just scroll and browse and dive down here and there.

About the roughly 280 photos: With very obvious few exceptions, they are mine, shot with an iPhone 12 PRO, iOS 16.1. I have tried to photograph the works and surroundings in my way and mostly in square format because I like that format. While few have been cropped, almost all have been Photoshop-improved.

I’ve visited every Venice Art Biennale since 2007, every second year – and it remains the main inspirational international art event for me. The city, the ambience, its uniqueness and those hundreds of art spaces give me something no other place can match.

Many would agree that it is the main global event for contemporary art. And by the Biennale, I do not mean only the classical, historical exhibitions at Giardini and Arsenale – no, there are about 200 art spaces, many as enjoyable to explore – like the European Cultural Centre, ECC. Or you simply walk spontaneously along the canals and the tiny streets and suddenly see that there – there is a temporary art space in a three-room apartment on the 2nd floor in an old more or less dilapidated but totally genuine and picturesque building.

Venice is a stage, a set, a backdrop. Most old buildings are art pieces created by time and nature. You cannot enter a palazzo without immediately knowing that you’re in Venice. The Venice Biennale is 50% Venice + 50% Biennale = 100% Art. I’ve written a bit about it here. And you may see some of my works here.

Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll publish a Venice photographics book – like so many others before me, including my Danish photo mentor, Viggo Rivad? Few places on the planet have inspired more musicians, novelists, painters, photographers and poets than Venezia.

I was here three years ago (2019) when I was so privileged to have been invited to exhibit my SPAR – Silk Peace Art Road – Installation at the European Cultural Center at Palazzo Mora. I spoke with about 1500 people from all corners of the world and was convinced that it would serve as a stimulant to global inter-cultural dialogue about the world’s future. More about that here.

I packed it down myself there at Palazzo Mora, and it was to go to China and be shown at a new museum in the new industrial sector of Shanghai and then tour around China and move back through some of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) capitals. But then came the Corona…

It is still stored here in Venice in two boxes, 100 kilos all in all. Don’t ask me if I am impatient…

My wife, Christina, and I stay in a tiny side street to Strada Nuovo – a very pleasant, diverse and not too-touristic part of Venice. That’s also the street where the above-mentioned ECC is located. So, it’s about a one-hour walk through the city to the official Art Biennale which is divided in two, the Giardini and the Arsenale.

Arsenale is a huge former naval base that has been converted to an art space. Its buildings are huge too. I like the idea of turning bases into art spaces; should be done everywhere on earth.

You see Arsenale to the right on this map of Venice:

For people who know Venice and the Biennale well, I’ve said nothing new. But then, many of my readers may not have been to Venice – the floating island city with no cars. And here is a typical canal view – when you walk you pass small bridges every 3 minutes or so:

So, the first thing you are likely to do is to go to the Giardini and Arsenale area and explore the national pavilions. That is, many countries around the world have their own building/pavilion, and those who exhibit there are elected by the country’s Ministry of Culture. So this is the formal part and what was initially called the Biennale:

“La Biennale di Venezia has been for over 120 years one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Established in 1895, the Biennale has an attendance today of over 500,000 visitors at the Art Exhibition. The history of the La Biennale di Venezia dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized.” See more here.

You’re entering something very unique in the unique city of Venice which, by the way, has some interesting – and sad – demographic characteristics. At this time – November – of the Biennale, there are not too many people, so there are no long queues to get in. The entrance for people over 65 is € 20 per person to visit both Giardini and Arsenale. Amazingly cheap, I would say – not to mention the comparatively outrageous entrance fee of the Basel Art Fair.

But then the Biennale is usually visited by more than 500 000 people.

And what is meant by The Biennale?

Back then, it meant what you saw when visiting Giardini and Arsenale. That is still the historical core, of course. It has 53 national pavilions and a large central pavilion. At Giardini and Arsenale alone, 213 artists are exhibiting 1433 works and projects, 83 of them specifically conceived for the Biennale.

Then there are 28 “national participations” around town, and finally, there are 119 “collateral” art events. In sum, 202 all over town.

In a week or so, you’ll only see a fraction. And many, including reviewers, hardly stay even that long. So how do you choose?

In summary, ‘The Biennale’ is now also a collective heading for it all and most art magazines subsume under it whatever happens in Venice and not only what happens at Giardini and Arsenale. It runs from April 23 to November 27, 2022.


Russia’s is cancelled in 2022, its pavilion empty

The first thing I notice – and yes, I am a peace researcher too – is that Russia’s pavilion is empty. Here is the building/pavilion which has often housed amazing exhibitions:

The reason is, of course, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Biennale homepage says: “La Biennale di Venezia has been informed of the decision by the curator and artists of the Pavilion of the Russian Federation who have resigned from their positions, thereby cancelling the participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition.”

So the Russian artists and curators decided that they would not be representing a state that had invaded another state. Fair enough since this is an official presentation managed by the Russian state. They have the right to think this way, of course, but it raises at least two questions:

a) Is an artist who exhibits in a national pavilion here necessarily responsible for the politics of her or his state – will he or she be seen as a ‘state’ artist in the eyes of the visitors? I would say ‘not necessarily.’ I do not see all artists here as representatives of their respective countries or governments or as somehow responsible for their country’s policies.

b) How come only Russian artists and curators seem to think this way? Here we also have the United States, Israel, France, Britain – and even Denmark, a leading bomber nation for the last 20+ years – and I may be ignorant, but I never heard that the artists and curators who were selected to create the national pavilions in these countries withdrew from their task in protest.

Why do you see more American artists – or artists living in the US – than any other country when you walk around the Giardini and Arsenale spaces? It can’t be denied that the US has been the most violent and mass-killing country on earth since 1945.

I have distanced myself from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on its second day, that’s not my point. I simply find it enigmatic that Russian artists and curators should be more politically responsible – or see themselves as being so – than anybody else.

I for one do not think that this self-exclusion, let’s call it that, serves the arts in any way. Indeed, it militates against art as a way of improving intercultural, global dialogue and the right to human-to-human encounters. No matter what. The Russian artists could have chosen to be here and, by the works or their personal presence, expressed their views and feelings and created conversations with their visitors and other artists.

While I respect their decision but think it can be discussed, I have a hard time with the official Biennale statement in response to it:

“La Biennale expresses its complete solidarity for this noble act of courage and stands beside the motivations that have led to this decision, which dramatically epitomizes the tragedy that has beset the entire population of Ukraine.

La Biennale remains a place where peoples meet in art and culture, and condemns all those who use violence to prevent dialogue and peace.”

We must then look forward to La Biennale’s condemnation of quite a few countries – including those of NATO whose expansion, predictably, should be identified as the major conflict cause behind the present terrible war raging in Ukraine.

The main donor of this year’s Biennale is the New York-based Teiger Foundation which has engaged very heavily on the Ukrainian side of the conflict. Among the donors are also a series of Western foundations, art councils and government institutions. Did any of them ever include considerations about US, British, etc. foreign policy in their participation? Did their artists? And how do they feel about the ever more anti-democratic government ruling today’s Ukraine after having conducted a civil war on its minorities since 2014 that has cost 15 000 fellow citizens their lives?

Virtually all members of the UN violate 24/7 the international law embedded in the UN Charter Article 1 – which states that peace shall be brought about by peaceful means. To violate that globally accepted norm is very far from being a speciality of Russia?

And what about nuclear weapons – did artists from nuclear weapons states ever stay away because their governments were planning to be able to wipe out humanity a number of times?

The mission or theme of this year’s Biennale is anything but clear

Here is the official Biennale mission statement for 2022 signed by this year’s curator, Cecilia Alemani. It hangs at the entrance – but most people, eager to get in after having queued up to show their tickets, probably just walk by without reading or reflecting.

I must admit that, generally, I have problems with most art exhibition texts that are supposed to explain to the visitors what they see and to help them understand artworks better. This one is no exception. How are we to meet “otherworldly” creatures? Why is the West really challenged? What is that prism of imagination made of?

Why – in the midst of the risk of nuclear war and a deeply worrying war in Europe where the Biennale takes place – do words like conflict, arms, war and military not appear in this intro? Or “peace”?

There is little to show in Giardini and Arsenale that there is a thorough, serious re-examination or criticism of the West as culture or ideology with its bizarre worldview – transmitted here too – that “Man of Reason” was the “fixed centre of the universe and measure of all things.”

Rather than transcending the – fashionable – focus on or obsession with the body which is part of the identity politics embedded in the present Western crisis, the text promotes the importance of the body, those we are and those in new realms of porous, hybrid, manifold beings.

How does she help the 500 000 visitors to understand their time – and the arts in it – with this text? I for one admit that I do not understand it. But I can interpret it as if she, who has made her career in the US – merely repeats the Western self-centeredness instead of breaking it down and letting in all the non-Western beings, bodies, inspirations, values and art forms. The Giardini and Arsenale remain very much a Western meeting place.

To highlight women artists is fine. But how is this idea related to the meeting along the way with “artists who have radically reinvented the categories of the human and the self”? Is there a human category split from the self? And what kind of art, which artists, have reinvented “the human.” (Cecilia Alemani has a BA in philosophy).

I would let things be. Raise questions. Open people’s eyes to multicultural and gender inspiration. Rather than stating that this Biennale represents some kind of reinvention of being human – being a humanity, or advancing sisterhood.

If Cecilia Alemani had used the simple intellectual tool of Diagnosis + Prognosis + Treatment/Therapy to structure her text and placed the Biennale in the present, manifest world according to such three-dimensional thinking, perhaps we would have better understood the surely good intentions upon which this Biennale rests.

As it stands here, I find it too blurred or artificial, too remote from the reality of both our present world situation and the art one meets here. There is a longer description of the mission and the Central Pavilion’s exhibitions and “capsules” by Alemani here.

As a matter of fact, it is strange that the Venice Biennale in the year 2022 seems completely unaware that the Western part of the world is in rapid, manifest decline and likely to fall. But of course, that may not be a theme or sub-theme that would please the far majority of those – not the least American – donors of the Biennale.

What I spontaneously liked – what moved me?

How to write about the works of 213 artists from 58 countries and all the other art events throughout Venice? Right: It’s impossible. And this is anyhow not a review, and I am not going into the kind of “The 10 most important artists at the 2022 Biennale that you cannot live without…” writing.

I’ve always wondered how people who have not seen everything could tell you what are the ten most important art spaces, books, restaurants, etc.

Instead, I sometimes let it all sink in and settle inside – and then see what later pops up in my mind or memory, perhaps also when I see other artworks the following days. And what does not pop up at any future moment? It’s a highly intuitive and non-rational approach, but I allow myself to write based on such a simple and admittedly subjective process or method. Art is not without its analytical qualities, but intuition and emotions play a much larger part in cultural production than in, say, science.

What you can’t forget – either because it was enigmatic, beautiful, provocative or explored materials and processes in surprising new ways – must have some quality.

So what pops up as having made a lasting impression on me at this year’s Biennale? Below please find a selection without priority.

By the way, on single photos hover your pointer over to see details. On galleries, double-click on each and see them in large formats.

The French Pavilion

A super-inviting very large installation with a cinema, a film studio, a dance-hall restaurant, a home, television discussions, etc. Have a look:

That it has to do with cinema, France’s relations with its colonies, etc. is quite obvious to the unprepared visitor who walks from one pavilion to the next. But I saw lots of other elements and got associations way beyond that. It’s so well arranged, down to the smallest detail – the wine has been poured into the glasses – and there is so much that catches your attention.

You see from my short movie how people interact and perceive, wonder about what world, imagined or real, they’ve just entered.

We walked around it all without a clue about the artistic content. And see what that is here.

This is multi-media but also multi-perceptual and multi-interpretative. It’s rich, surprising and – dare I call it – charming too? And from there you begin to appreciate what it’s really about.

Francis Alÿs

“The Nature of the Game” exists in this year’s Belgian Pavilion. Alÿs’ large videos did not catch me as much as his miniature paintings. (I was not aware of his works before this encounter with them). While so much in the art world tends to be made in big formats – probably because it has become technically possible – these tiny works struck me as beautiful documentaries with a refined technique. More about Alÿs here.

And of course, I like his attitude to the world – travel, see, and show how rich the world still is through everyday observations. And use many different techniques, media and combinations…

Amy Silman

A very large selection that shows how broad and varied her works are. I spend a lot of time investigating how she uses printing (some of it like old newspaper printing) and painting together. In addition, her brush strokes and colours speak to me. And so does the two-level arrangement of her works, the smaller ones on top of larger rough papers.

Jadé Fadojutimi

Just delightfully wild energetic, large-format oil and acrylic paintings. See her homepage with many more here. Below she presents herself – and I note particularly: “It is heartbreakingly beautiful to exist. I mean those two words literally…”

She was born in 1993 in London and lives there, and she has recently become one of many represented by Gagosian’s global art capitalist empire. (Sadly).

Below – how lovely that teachers take children to the Biennale. Who knows – someone sees something and become a great artist in 20-30 years from now?

Not that Katharina Fritsch’s…

“Elephant” from 1987 touched my senses a bit and certainly not the ones described here. But since the walls around it have been covered with mirror-like folio, I thought it could be distorted and become more enigmatic:

To put it simply, how is this elephant expressive of the (lofty) words written by Ms Alamani about this Biennale’s raison d’etre?

Małgorzata Mirga-Ta

Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’ huge textile exhibition in Poland’s pavilion is not only a piece of history, it is also sensational and beautiful. Read about it in Daily Art. It’s the first time ever that the Biennale has a Romani artist to exhibit. She is inspired by the book Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons from 2018 by Silvia Federici. The book emphasizes the nurturing relationships between all living things and proposes a kinder, safer world where women play a central part, as Daily Art writes. Here is the intro to the pavilion:

So finely crafted textiles. Social, identity and political art at its very best on the side of the marginalised, the unseen.

And while we walk over to Arsenale:

Jan Oberg 2022


Kilometres of old, often worn down, buildings that provide unique spaces for large formats. I would say that it is much more exciting and filled with stimulating possibilities than the national pavilions at Giardini. Here artworks and the environment melt into one, even if sometimes contrasting too.

These photos are just meant to convey the atmosphere. The last photo shows how an artwork on the ground may correspond with a non-art artwork (some kind of mechanical installation, perhaps an airconditioner) on the wall behind it.

Noah Davis

You walk around among thousands of artworks. Many don’t make you stop and, yes, it is not always fair. But I’m still intrigued by what happens in a nanosecond when one draws you in, and you just must walk closer, not the slightest aware of why. Among many others, that happened to me with this:

What? A black conductor on a chair close to a house carrying what looks like a street sign – a house that does not stand firm on the ground but seems like floating on or in water. On its large roof – is it an animal or a human being placed enigmatically together with some other object?

It’s a work by Noah Davis (June 3, 1983 – August 29, 2015), a black American painter, installation artist, and founder of the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, CA. When talking about his work, Davis has said, “if I’m making any statement, it’s to just show black people in normal scenarios, where drugs and guns are nothing to do with it,” and describes his work as “instances where black aesthetics and modernist aesthetics collide.” Davis died at his home in Ojai, California on August 29, 2015, of a rare form of soft tissue cancer – all according to Wikipedia.

See more works by Davis on Artsy.

This sort of “click” between you and a work of art is so spontaneous, so taking you aback – perhaps a bit like the clicking encounter with one beautiful human being who stands out from a group and attracts you. And then, what happens? Perhaps it is a kind of fall, like falling in love at first sight? Or perhaps just a flirt – when you see another piece, and it clicks too?

Be this as it may, I do not need any explanation or rationality in these matters. I just know that I will study Noah Davis more. I can’t find it right now but remember to have read somewhere that, during his tragically short life, Davis created no less than 400 paintings.

Imagine what he might have done had he lived much longer.

Sometimes the artwork just happens when you walk by and sees it. A few seconds later this scene changed and will never come back:

Jan Oberg 2022

Barbara Kruger

Fast forward into Barbara Kruger’s enormous city/land/artscape! She has a brand, and it hasn’t changed much over the years. But it remains provocative, communicative and spot-on as a satire – that I assume it to be – of the advertising, attention-seeking cacophony of messages that hits humanity 24/7. Like “In the middle there was confusion”… In the middle? No, it seems to be full-spectrum these years. Or does she actually refer to something we do not really know what is?

“Our fate”?

Diego Marcon

Wandering on, we enter a dark, dilapidated Arsenale room with a video and some music. I am generally not attracted to video art, and don’t ask me why, I know it isn’t fair. But this was another nanosecond “click” moment:

Italian Diego Marcon’s work is everything the text to the left says it is. But in addition, it is strangely moving – with those doll-like but still very human, twisted faces, the blackbird and the music. The people in it are sort of motionless but also touching your heart: How could such a human tragedy occur? None of them seems evil or mad.

Emotionally, walking out from this spellbound darkness and into bright daylight wasn’t easy.

Precious Okoyomon

You could also walk through a large garden with sculptures with so many interwoven connotations (see the text under the video) – “See the Earth before the End of the World”:

China’s Pavilion

Perhaps the most complex national space at Arsenale was that of China. I can’t say that I understand how the technology behind it works, but fascinating – and beautiful – it was. First, read a little – remember to double-click on a text or image to enlarge it:

Here is the China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd. (CAEG) which is responsible for this huge art space. Quite an enterprise!

And here are my shots from various parts of it. The plant images created by artificial intelligence reflect on mirrors, and cameras have a problem with “judging” mirrors, so some a slightly blurred.

So many dimensions and surprising elements connect in all this. I like the idea of letting art and high-tech melt and mutually enrich each other. I would not be honest if I said that I understood how what one sees has been created. Bt these AI plants beamed splendid beauty into you. I like this short intro to it on the official Biennale homepage:

“META-SCAPE is inspired by the “Scape”, represented by “poetry” in the traditional Chinese literary context. From the contemporary perspective of media theory, META-SCAPE connects an ecological or system image presented by “Scape” to the current human context of “human-technology-nature”. “Scape” is an evolving term in the discourse system of traditional Chinese culture. Based on the human context of “human-technology-nature”, META-SCAPE aims at representing the “Structure of Understanding” created by the Chinese nation in the process of comprehending and transforming the world and exploring the civilisation landmark set by mankind for the coexistence of the future world by taking the “Scape” in traditional Chinese culture as a principle concept, holding the attitude of transcending time indicated by “Meta”.

Note words like human-technology-nature. Understanding. Chinese nation. The Past and traditions projected into the Future. Discourse. Coexistence. And change is the only constant.

See also in passing how other Asian nations presented themselves at this year’s Biennale here.

Uzbekistan’s Pavilion

And now to Uzbekistan’s “The Garden of Knowledge” – and today’s word ‘algorithm.’

…visually an absolutely fascinating exhibition, one that challenges Western perceptions of its own creativity and scientific advancement, and highlights the highly innovative places such as Baghdad in Islamic tradition – here its famous House of Wisdom in which the Al-Kwarizimi worked. Also a very illuminating homepage here with lots of background, ideas and who the artists are.

You notice in passing how beautifully the building and its walls interact with the mirror-like floor and creates an almost floating feeling when you walk around.

Ghana’s Pavilion

Ghana’s pavilion was also intriguing – but in a different way, of course – paintings so crisp, happy and modern, almost abstract from deep roots of struggle against marginalisation. Read that text, it’s moving and commands respect!

The European Cultural Centre, ECC – Palazzo Mora and Bembo

The ECC must be, I assume, the second largest exhibiting institution after the classical Biennal that I have just described above. Here is what it says about itself under About:

“The European Cultural Centre is a cultural organisation founded by the Dutch artist Rene Rietmeyer and originates back to 2002. Today we are an ever-expanding group of diverse people who would like to make a positive difference. We care about humanity and about the overall state and direction of our world. With this in mind, doing nothing is not an option.

We have created a dynamic organisation which establishes cultural centres worldwide and is devoted to generate cultural exchange by organizing international art and architecture exhibitions, symposia and a wide range of cultural projects. Not only with Europeans but together with people from all around the world.

Our goal is to create awareness, to strengthen our cultural commons, to cherish our uniqueness and to learn about the qualities within our differences. We believe that progress is best made by creating a deeper awareness about the serious challenges we all face today. We try to bring people from different cultures together in the hope that we will all learn from each other.

Naturally we have our own opinions and we do like to promote our own values, values in which we strongly believe. We are a non-political and non-religious organisation, open to all people and to all points of view, as long as they are respectful of the freedom,  dignity and rights of every single living being.

The ECC provides the conditions to invite and promote artistic and creative practices, a direct interaction with a multitude of intellectual and cultural art forms [visual arts, dance, performance, theatre, music, literature, architecture, etc.].

To date, we have organised and hosted over 50 contemporary art, design and architecture exhibitions worldwide – as well as hundreds of meetings, workshops, symposiums and other cultural events. In addition, we publish books, catalogues, documentational videos. Through our teaching and research platforms (ECC-Academy and ECC-Performance Art) we offer comprehensive educational programs for those who are sincerely interested in cultural exchange.

The ECC is in the continued process of establishing Satellites in different parts of the world. Our aim is to enlarge our network of cultural entrepreneurs, to create exhibitions, publications, videos and other cultural activities. The ECC has today established centres in Italy, USA, Japan, Russia, India, the Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, France and Spain. The European Cultural Centre headquarter is in the Netherlands.”

And by that, you know the basics.

I write at length about it for three reasons. First, between 2007 and 2019, I always felt that visiting its two palaces – Palazzo Mora at Strada Novo and Palazzo Bembo close to the Rialto Bridge – was a main positive experience. Beautiful buildings, fine curation, intimacy, a will to promote new talents and not just be posh, generally really fine artworks and a welcoming atmosphere – and a free entrance.

Secondly, I also liked the entire mission statement above with a sense of connection with the world and, not the least, the aim to not be European but to bring art from all over the world to Europe.

The word peace is not mentioned, but I believe the mission of the ECC is one that connects artistic and other elements and values for global dialogue, coexistence and, therefore, embodies the desire to contribute to a better – more peaceful – future.

I feel very close to that way of thinking. Also, like everything the Transnational Foundation and I myself do, it is independent of governments and corporations. It does receive various kinds of support – listed in its catalogue, but the ECC is not in anybody’s hands.

You may begin to understand it by visiting the ECC founder, Dutch artist Rene Rietmeyer’s home page. He’s a multi-media artist, highly productive, travelling the world and working with people across cultures.

No wonder he got the idea to create the ECC and set up its main centre in Venice.

Here is first an introductory video about the whole idea from a couple of years back.

… followed by the intro to the 2022 show “Personal Structure. Reflections” under the general theme of Time, Space Existence:

And third, I exhibited my Silk Peace Art Road (SPAR) multi-media installation here in 2019 and got to know the people who run the ECC to some degree. They are completely amazing, devoted, unpretentious, open to experiment, thoroughly humanistic and terribly professional. If as an exhibitor you have a special wish for your installation, they will go out of their way to meet that wish. I never heard the sentence – “No we can’t do that” or similar. Smiles all around. When working with them, you do not feel any top-down bureaucracy – more a group of friends, a family – to which you are quickly let in.

And the leadership team is made up exclusively of rather young women. Those who do the technical stuff – nails, wires, lightning, special arrangements for each work, boxes, podiums and the like – are young men. The ECC also employs the idea that art students from around the world can come to Palazzo Mora and Bembo, learn about the exhibited artworks and then serve as guides for visitors and help answer their questions.

If you are now stimulated to explore the ECC more in-depth, there are three homepages: – which, although indicating 2022, also contains images from 2019 – and – with a lot of background, history and artworks – in text and videos.

I simply love this place and visited it three times this year and linked up with my friend there.

You may now think that this is a place devoted to art only. Not so, they do architecture and design too. And the ECC also takes care of a third exhibition space, the beautiful Giardini Marinaressa sculpture gardens at the coastal stretch between the Giardini and Arsenale.

I started out by saying it must be the second-largest exhibition in Venice after the official Biennale. In 2022, ECC’s three exhibition spaces showed 494 artists + 5 special projects from 51 countries in total. This means thousands of artworks. Among the special projects, I was particularly happy to see a fine exhibition by Palestinian artists at Mora.

Now, let’s start out at Palazzo Mora.

You’ll understand why I don’t offer the names of all the artists and the titles of their works. This is merely to give you a sense of the experience.

So I simply let some photos speak about both the diversity of the works and their interaction with the beauty of the palace milieu – the walls, the floors, the ceilings, and the windows. Remember double-clicking to enlarge:

And here some impressions from Palazzo Bembo:

The last one above was probably my favourite at Bembo – US artist and professor of visual arts, Michael Rich. His homepage shows his works on several media. It’s always a joy for me to discover an artist I haven’t come across before and who can paint a painting and a goddamned good painting at that!

One more reason you should not miss the European Cultural Centre is its Biennale publications. They publish a simple map with the 202 art spaces, an inventive easy-to-carry Biennale Bag of all there is to see, plus two catalogue versions of their own exhibitions. And a nice bag to carry everything in. Great service to the visitor and to all other exhibitors.

And this rounds off Part 1. In Part 2, I’ll take you to other palaces and exhibitions that made a lasting impression on me this time.

Also, welcome to browse my photographics works from Venice.

And if you have been to Venice, you know where this is.

Jan Oberg 2022

If you haven’t, it’s a reflection from the famous Saint Mark’s Square and a reminder of how the water from the laguna floods Venice and contributes to its destruction over time.


  1. Pingback: The Biennale in Venice 2022 - See what I've seen of both - Part 2 - Oberg PhotoGraphics

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  3. Dear Jan, how extremely kind of you to take us on a guided wiev of the Beinnale in Venice 2022. Indeed very generous to share all this with your readers. Furthermore a million thanks for keeping us informed of the political side of life. The side where peace is having such hard times.
    In gratitude

    • Oh, how sweet of you to send me that upbeat comment. You made my day! Yes, peace is having a hard time but it will survive and come back when the militarist have been forced to give up.
      Sharing is what I think adds meaning to writing something like this – but it also in and of itself clarifies for me what it is I have seen and what it meant. I’d be happy if you tell just one other person about this Venice report on my photo homepage. Then you make two persons happy, if not three 🙂

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