This is the first of what I aim to be a miniseries of posts on the Venice Biennale. Instead of trying to cover everything I’m going to attempt to break down my thoughts into more digestible morsels. This very short introduction outlines my decision to write about the diverse enormity that is the Venice Biennale and the challenge that writing about art brings.
When I write these posts it’s my time to think, time to reflect, consider and analyse my reactions and thoughts of artworks I’ve seen. My memory is pretty good but the first thing I have to do once coming back home from an exhibition is collate all those reactions as I challenge myself to try and understand and make sense of what I have just seen in words. It is a contradiction of sorts because at the time of viewing/experiencing the work, or in situations which are similarly overwhelming, of great occasion, importance and profundity I feel completely and utterly verbally constipated. I could probably (and probably have) come out with something to say but the stuff I’m really thinking, the stuff I’m really feeling is so often so in the moment, personal and instinctual and visceral I cannot find the words to say. It defies words. Surely that’s one point of art anyway, it functions to express/explore/communicate the things which sometimes cannot be articulated in words? And that’s one of the reasons why I chose to do art in the first place, as a visual way of communicating... I suppose the conflict arises when I feel as though I ought to be able to express things in words because I want to share my experiences with other people and to some extend I enjoy the challenge it brings.
Along with creating it, viewing art is the one activity where I am uncharacteristically at ease with just simply being, or in the moment, so to speak and when I’m there I don’t particularly want the distraction of having to take photos, draw or force myself to document the work in some way. Occasionally the tapping on my shoulder of self consciousness manifests and I think ‘I’d better perhaps take a couple quick photos for the blog’, but more often than-not all that stuff just gets in the way and I am more than happy to just experience. Maybe I’d drunk too much prosecco or maybe I hadn’t drunk enough but never before have I experienced such a barrage, a plethora, a cornucopia of outstanding shit, banal marvels and resonant works of art like I did during the Venice Biennale that it had forced me to think about how I look at art, why I do and why so many of us also go to experience it in our hundreds. And overall, how wonderful, humbling and gratifying that the desire to create, to make and to share that with others is something so universal, so human.