PERSONAL STRUCTURES – Open Borders
OPENING PERIOD: 13 May – 26 November 2017
Arriving in Venice last week, I was greeted by dark skies, rumbles of thunder and then incessant rain….but wait a minute ! Who cares about the weather. I had been invited to exhibit my artwork at the preeminent cultural event in the most beautiful city in the whole world.
The Venice Biennale draws hundreds of thousands of art lovers and professionals from all over the world and I am going to be a part of this for the next 7 months, so I repeat, who cares about the weather.
After checking in to my apartment, I decided to head off to Palazzo Mora early to check that the lights did not reflect too much off the plexiglas cases. This palazzo is one of the three palazzi taken over by the European Cultural Centre for the Personal Structures group exhibition and also the Kiribati National Pavilion as well as the Seychelles National Pavilion. Kiribati and Venice, although at different sides of the world both geographically and culturally, share similar environmental challenges in that they are both sinking.
As I feared, the lights were too fierce but I felt churlish complaining that the great Hermann Nitsch’s blood paintings were vividly reflected on my artwork. This calls for tact and diplomacy and actually lend another perspective to my syringes sculptures…think Anish Kapoor’s highly reflective sculptures.
I checked out my other fellow artists and who should be behind my wall but none other than the great Jeff Koons…how blessed am I ! Nitsch’s blood and gore paintings, Anthony Moman’s syringe sculptures and Jeff Koon’s balloon dogs. Well this is the Venice Biennale, after all.
At 6pm there was a steady trickle of people arriving and by 6.30 it became a torrent as they arrived by the hundred. By 7pm with the Prosecco flowing, and trays of exquisite canapés passing me by, it was barely breathing room.
I was gratified to see the many people who did a double take as they realized that my shapes were formed not by led lights or ball bearings (now there’s an idea ) but real, fully armed syringes. The reactions were mixed from surprise, disgust – phobia of needles, to incredulous, but at least no one was complacent or unreactive. That is all I wished for, to provoke a strong reaction amongst all this amazing art.