Breakfast Club at the Venice Biennale: a chance to reflect and share experiences

Breakfast Club!

By Angela Magee, Second Year Fine Art Student

Breakfast Club is something that the Wales in Venice team began in 2015 and, as the first term of Welsh invigilators, we were keen for Wales to establish it again this year.

The Venice Biennale closes on Mondays, which means all of us invigilators all get a day off – so it’s a perfect time for us to meet up. It’s a good way to share the best places for music, food and art, and to forge friendships with people from around the globe who are away from home and all in the same boat.

We laid out an impressive breakfast, and had a good turnout to eat it. There were plenty of laughs as we shared our experiences on duty and off. Everybody who came along thought it was a wonderful idea and I’m sure the numbers will keep growing as the weeks go on and word spreads.

Now that the first hectic weeks of the Biennale are over, and the crowds have died down a little, I took the opportunity to visit the Arsenale – one of the two main Biennale venues. I think I’ll need to go again to properly digest it, but here are some of my highlights.

Kananginak Pootoogook
For the first time in the Venice Biennale’s exhibition, the work of an Inuit artist has been included. Kananginak Pootoogook (1935–2010), was a community leader and artist in Cape Dorset from the 1950s to his death in 2010. Ten of his ink-and-coloured-pencil drawings have been installed the “Pavilion of the Earth” at the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale.

Claudia Fontes
A giant white horse frozen in mid-air while a girl gentle touches his muzzle. This large sculptural work by artist Claudia Fontes.

The Horse Problem, and the Argentinian Pavilion, are located within one of the Arsenale’s ancient buildings, the largest pre-industrial production centre of the world where the Venecian armada was bult.  The installation, which also features 400 white rocks scattered around the two central figures, is inspired by 19th-century icons around which Argentina’s national presence was falsely based. Fontes uses these borrowed characters in her present work to examine how nations develop across history, especially in her own country of Argentina.

Jesse Jones
Dublin-based artist Jesse Jones is Ireland’s representative at the Venice Biennale 2017 with a work entitled ‘Tremble Tremble’.

Jones is breathtaking in this performance that crosses the media of film, performance and installation, playing the character of a witch as a feminist archetype, who has the ability to alter reality.

I found it extremely powerful and moving and was very interested in the idea of the crossover between performance and installation.

Read more about CSAD at the Venice Biennale.

Visit the British Council Venice Biennale site.