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Venice, Politicians and Brides and Pavilion Demise


6.00am.
The weather is looking inclement and threatening to thwart our plans….we’re worried about our bride looking droopy, our plaster going soggy, and teleportation signals getting muddled.  We’re going to have to assess it as we go.

Meanwhile on the ground, the vibe is feeling slightly unsettled and a little bit sultry.  By now we would expect to feel the bulge of the art crowd, but it’s ominously quiet.  May have something to do with the vaporetto strike, we think averted, or maybe it’s still the lingering woes of the GFC keeping some of the patrons at bay.  Perhaps it’s the new ‘hello venezia’ travel card system which seems to be flummoxing most people – a Myki kind of glitch, perhaps?????

The monumental task ahead is starting to dawn upon the artists.  Each of them in their own way, are stealing themselves for their moment in the public glare, or drizzle as it now seems.

7.30am.
Still raining, not increasing, so we are still hopeful that the plans we put in place a few weeks ago will bare fruit.  Anastasia is putting on her bridal gown and Laresa is mentally preparing to descend the four flights of stairs – no mean feet, or should that be foot and crutches.  Stuart is still on another planet.

10.00am.
We’ve decided to stay with the plan.  But before we activate our shenanigans, we will make a stop in Hany Armanious’ gala launch, presided over by the gorgeous Rachel Griffith and assorted teamsters from the Australian patron group and OzCo rank and file.

Laresa is accompanying us, clear on her mission, which is to seek autographs from the luminaries of the artworld exhibiting here in Venice.  Anastasia is staying behind under a parasol, but we are looking at the increasingly hopeful skies.

10.30am
In the spirit of ‘we have a captive audience, we might as well tell them everything that we are doing’, the Pavilion is launched with a sequence of speeching from Kathy Keele, CEO OzCo, who tells us that finally it has been decided that the current pavilion’s use-by date has expired and that plans will recommence to redesign and rebuild an Australian pavilion for the 21st century.  We of course are hoping for a nice cubic, functional space, with no embellishments and some storage.

This announcement, together with the promise of a $1m kick-start fund from philanthropist Simon Mordant, was warmly welcomed by the assembly.

The speeching continued, with a bit of a spruik from the two Canadian curators of the forthcoming 18th Sydney Biennale 2012, Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster, titled All Our Relations, which we understand will rely on various exchanges, affinities and empathies to create its dynamic structure.

At the moment we’re feeling some greater empathy with Laresa Kosloff who proceeds stoically on her crutches to fulfill her own brief.

Third speeching comes from L.A based curator Anne Ellegood, from the Hammer in L.A, who is guest curator of Hany’s project.  Anne talks interestingly about the process of working at a distance, the slow verses fast processing of Hany’s own work, and the nature of faux things.

Fourth speeching, (yes I’m afraid it keeps going) comes from the de commissar, his Commissioner self, Doug Hall, who speaks about the strategy of involving an international curator and he in turn introduced the star attraction of the speech set, actor Rachel Griffith.  She looked nice.  She has lovely skin, and looked suitably casual in geometrics.  Rachel talked about the tyranny of distance, and the difficulty that still presides over recognition for Australian visual artists, as compared to the increasingly easy passage for Australian actors, which has become a norm in Hollywood and around the world.  We thought that was nice and showed a good understanding of the work ahead for all of us, to try to broker opportunities for Australian visual arts.

Just when you thought the speeching was done, up pops Doug Hall again, but it was OK , he was just making a closing remark.  Much clapping, much congratulatory talk, some warm prosecco downed, another opening opened.

11.00am
Laresa is going great guns.  She’s already nabbed autographs from Christian Boltanski (France), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland), Dora Garcia (Spain) and Angel Vergara (Belgium).  Orlan flicked her off – boo hiss Orlan.  We’re worried though, it’s a bit strenuous and now the sun has come out it’s hot and the weight of the cast may be more than Laresa expected.

Meanwhile our intrepid bride has embarked on her watery crossing to the Giardini, to the waves and cheers of the people at her hotel landing.  Yes, Anastasia is a minor celebrity, the bride of Venice for certain.  She arrives at the Giardini, coinciding with the unexpected anti-nuclear protest and the arrival of the political contingent, Berlusconi we’re told, but we’ll check on that.

Anastasia does her bridal walk from entry gate to the British Pavilion on the top of the hill.  The progress is slow, because she is inundated at the very beginning by cameras, reporters and film-crews.  Not one to miss an opportunity, the obliging Rachel Griffith agreed to have her photograph taken with Anastasia (we’ll post it to you Rachel, and thanks).

We haven’t had the opportunity yet to look closely as Hany’s installation nor anything else, but we’ll post more later.


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