Week One impressions – Wales In Venice

First year Fine Art student Charlotte Grayland is taking part in the Arts Council of Wales Wales in Venice Invigilator Plus programme, spending a month at the Wales Biennale helping invigilate at the Wales Pavilion while also spending time developing her writing and creative practice.  Charlotte is one of three CSAD students who were selected which is especially exciting as the artist representing Wales this year is Sean Edwards, one of the School’s Fine Art lecturers.

‘When I first saw photographs of Venice I remember thinking to myself that this place cannot actually exist and that the photographs before me were fake, or heavily edited. However after my first week here I can honestly say it has outlived any of my expectations. It is one of the most stunning places that I have ever been to. The water that surrounds the island creates an amazingly beautiful back drop to the venetian architecture, and what is crazy is that after a couple of days the commute to work almost feels completely normal!

‘On the first day here in Venice after my first day at Sean Edwards’ exhibition at the Wales Pavilion I was introduced to the other invigilators from the many other pavilions working in the Biennale. What is great here is that everyone seems to want to come together, creating our own international group that we go and see Venice with and do activities with. For example, this week the Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Australians all went to a local underground jazz bar and danced together. It was incredible!

This week I have also visited quite a number of the international pavilions and collateral events here at the Venice Biennale. I have found it so interesting to see how different countries approach making artwork as there is such a wide variety in the results you find here. What is also incredible are the settings that you find the work placed in. The collateral shows and pavilions are scattered across Venice hiding in the many side streets, and although they can be difficult to find I truly recommend visiting them, especially for the locations. For example, “Förg in Venice”, an exhibition of work by artist Gunther Förg, is situated in the Palazzo Contarini Polignac, a 15th century palace turned art gallery! Situated within the palace walls are many abstract paintings and sculptures, which create a really interesting juxtaposition with the 15th century style of the interior. I feel this is something you can only find in Venice!

‘Overall this first week here in Venice has been truly fantastic and I cannot wait to see what the next three weeks have in store. Until next time – Arrivederci, Hwyl fawr, Goodbye!’