Wesley John Fourie 18.10.2022-01.11. 2022
My time spent in residence at Venezia Contemporanea was something I will never forget. To be surrounded by so much art (during the biennale) blew my mind, it never even occurred to me that so much art could exist in one space. Beyond the spectacle of the biennale, the city itself is a treasure trove of history, beauty, and without question holds some of the best art (both modern and historic) that I have ever seen.
Whilst the city definitely has a problem of over-tourism, the neighborhood the program is based in actually feels quite far from this. The Jewish Ghetto is steeped in history, and feels very much like a community geared towards those who actually live there. This is not a place to go if you want to be surrounded by hawkers peddling their kitsch souvenirs, nor is it a place to go if you want to drink till you stumble into the Grand Canal. Cannaregio is a place for quiet discovery, contemplation, and most importantly, an ideal place to be based if you want to reflect on your practice.
Michel and Alon treated me for the entirety of my residency as if I were one of their family, welcoming me into their home, introducing me to the history of the area, and making sure I had everything I needed (from materials, to company, etc).
I hope to return to the program during the next biennale, to delve deeper into the history of this fascinating city, and to spend time in their company once again.
I will be forever thankful for the experience they offered me, and very much hope that this initial program is the beginning of a relationship that will continue for many years to come.
Ana Andras (Spain/USA) August 2022
The days I stayed in the residency were great. I felt welcome all the time. I was with a family who made me feel part of them. I met other artists also, so I always had somebody near to talk to or to ask questions or enjoy an evening on the plaza.
The studio is lovely, a great place to work with a lot of light, and a warm atmosphere.
The living area is comfortable, with a small kitchen, full of utensils to use. Perfect for one person or a couple.
I think that the best feature is the location, THE JEWISH GHETTO.
I fell in love with the neighbourhood. I am in love with Venice. I have visited it several times, but this was my first time in this small area part of Cannaregio, where life is calmer, the busy touristic streets are left outside of the arches and alleys that are separated from the rest of the city.
The Jewish community is strong, it is present at each store, in each pastry at the coffee shop, in the kosher restaurants, and in the busy plaza with children playing in the evening. The Shabbat is celebrated also in the plaza with music, song, and drums playing.
I had an anecdote, traveling on the VaporettoI lost my drawing book, it has just fallen from my bag, I did not notice it until I left the Vaporetto.
For 2 o 3 days, I ask all over Venice, to the lost and found office, to the personnel at the Vaporetto, etc. Finally, I gave up, I lost my small drawing for two years.
Two weeks after I was back in Spain, I received a message from Karin, a sketch tutor from Barcelona. A German lady found my book on the Vaporetto and for the writing inside the book she found Karin’s web and asked if somebody lost the drawing book.
Well, I contacted her very very happily, and she returned the book to me.
Happy Ending and I have learned that I had to write my contact info on the books.
Beili Liu (China/New York,USA) November 2022
I created 10 silk panels tracing the unique brick patterns of the exhibition space. I plan to sew on these panels, marking the level of flood that Venice had experienced in recent years. The final work will be an installation.
I appreciated the opportunity to work with a historical space, as well as visiting the Biennale.
I had a curator from the US visit the residency. She happens to also be in Venice at the same time. I also very much appreciated getting to know Michal, Alon, and Akiko.
Article about and Beilli Liu Art and her art created during the residency https://glasstire.com/2022/12/10/venice-a-metaphor-for-mending/
Simone DePietro (Italy/Australia) 21-27 August 2022
Michal, Alon and their beloved cats greeted me warmly. It was clear that the gallery and its visitors were well cared for with the inside walls offering as much inspiration as the fascinating city spilling in from outside. The enchanting exhibits in the Biennale, colourful artworks in the ghetto, wondrous architecture and friendly people all connected by water which weaved in and out of each pocket. We would each acknowledge that everyone there was happy to be lost, discovering Venice on the way to being found again and each night I would feel all the more richer, followed by a warm, delicious meal prepared for me. The hot summer days were spent sketching, writing and later venturing through the eclectic streets. I always felt blessed returning to the treasured community, safe and warm in the embrace of the Old Jewish Ghetto.
Michal, Alon e i loro gatti molto amati, mi hanno dato un grande benvenuto. Era chiaro che la galleria ed i suoi visitatori erano ben curati. Con le pareti interne che offrivono la stessa ispirazione di questa città affascinante che si riversava dall esterno. Le incantevoli mostre della Biennale, le opere d’arte colorate nel ghetto, le meravigliose architetture e le persone amichevole tutte legate che si intrecciavano dentro e fuori dai canali. Abbiamo riconosciuto che tutti li erano felici di perdersi, scoprendo Venezia da ritrovare. Ogni notte mi sentirei tanto più arricchita, seguito da un pasto delizioso e caldo preparato per me. Durante quelle calde giornate estive disegnavo, scrivevo e camminavo le strade eclettiche, mi sono sempre sentita fortunata tornando nella preziosa comunità al sicuro nell’abbraccio del Ghetto Vecchio.
Thank you so much. Simone
Disclaimer: The Venezia Contemporanea Association is not responsible for the single Artist’s comments content.