James Richards, Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale 2017: BA Fine Art student Angela’s first week as invigilator

Life in Venice after a whirlwind first week

by Angela Magee, Second Year Fine Art Student

Well it was an eventful, full-on first week of my five week residency in Venice, invigilating at the Wales Pavilion at the Biennale and developing my own work, and this is the first chance I’ve had to post a news story…

Press week is always busy, and especially so this year. We had close on to a thousand people through the door one day, but every day was super busy.

There been so much buzz about James Richards work at the Wales Pavilion, and with good reason. The show is totally mind blowing. I’ve lost count of the people who’ve told me it’s one of the best, or even THE best, show they’ve seen at the whole Biennale.

When people are walking away from his video piece, I often ask “what did you make of it”. The replies I get area along the lines of “it was SO intense, it was beautiful/strange, joyful/sad, hard to watch”. Many say they feel they need a quiet space process it all.

We were really fortunate to meet James, and he was good enough to share the background to the some of the elements in his work – very helpful in helping to interpret it.

James, Hannah Firth from Chapter who curated the work, Louise and Cerys from Arts Council Wales, Chapter and g39 staff and the PR company team, were all here to welcome the media and help promote Wales during the first week.

They’ve mostly gone back home now, and it’s just us three invigilators – Thomas, Amy and me – looking after the show. Thankfully the technology has behaved itself so far (touch wood) and James has set it up so that it’s all very straightforward to start up and close down each day.

Things have already settled into a good routine, and it’s just fantastic work in such a breathtaking venue and look out of the door to see the boats sailing by on the canal. More soon.

Read more about CSAD at the Venice Biennale.

Visit the British Council Venice Biennale site.