Blog: From Venice To London

by | 07. Nov 2012


By Kirsten Kiser, Editor-In-Chief,


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Grand Canal with the fabulous Volpi Palazzo.

We have no “Worth reading” articles from the last week as I have been busy surfing the canals of Venice and the Thames in London instead of cyberspace.
Following is a “far too long” resume to be followed by several feature articles.

The first night in Venice I went to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum for the unveiling of a Vanessa Beecroft tableau with several naked women in masks. (no photos allowed, Beecroft takes them herself).

Next day I started out at the Venice Biennale in the Giardini di Castello; the gardens in the east of Venice that, since 1895, have been the traditional venue for the International Exhibition of Art. There are 29 national pavilions, built at various periods by the exhibiting nations. Each year the Biennale has a common theme; this year it is the”Plateau of Human Kind”.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Nordic Pavilion designed by Norway’s Sverre Fehn in 1962.

Next the Arsenale; the old shipyard warehouses that were used to build and fit the fleet of the Venetian Republic. To the southside there is the Corderie built in 1503 and reconstructed after designs by Antonio Da Ponte between 1579 and 1585. Linked to the Corderie is the Artiglierie; a long single-storey building dating from 1560. Then there is the Isolotto, the Gaggiandre and the Tese delle Vergini and Giardini delle Vergini. Almost 17,000 square meters of exhibition space gives onto the large water basin of the Arsenale. I will tell you more next week.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The impressive entry to the Arsenale.

From shipyards to Villas and Palazzos…
Tired of contemporary art and architecture I visited Palladio’s Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta). La Malcontenta, commisioned by the Foscari brothers in the late 1550’s, was returned to the Foscari family in 1973 and has now been carefully restored. I was also very lucky to be invited to visit Count Giovanni Volpi’s exquisite Palazzo on the Grand Canal.
There is no doubt..Venice is pure magic.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser Villa Foscari (La Malcontenta)


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Ball Room at the Volpi Palazzo

After Venice I went across the English Channel to London for the opening of the Malcolm Morley exhibition at the Hayward Gallery and a first visit to The Great Court designed by Norman Foster
It is fantastic… far beyond any expectations.

Photo: Kirsten Kiser. The Great Court at the British Museum
Since I had not visited the office of Richard Rogers Partnership for quite some time I decided to check out their latest projects. The office covers an entire block on Thames Wharf….. the many exciting projects in various stages cover a large part of the world map.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Antwerp Law Courts latest model. Building completion date 2004

After the meeting I visited the latest Richard Rogers Partnership project in London’s Soho district; a very chic building with glazed lifts and lift towers.
Unfortunately it started raining during my visit and I could not continue to 88 Wood Street to check out the new building for Daiwa Europe Property that features the latest in energy efficiency. Will give you a full report on both buildings in a couple of weeks.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Richard Rogers Partnership Broadwick House in London’s Soho district.

When in London a visit to the Tate Modern, the former Power Station remodeled by Herzog and de Meuron, is a “must”. This time I was lucky to catch two fantastic exhibitions; Georgio Morandi in the galleries and an installation by Juan Muñoz in the great Turbine Hall. The installation “Double Bind” demonstrates how people are being squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces in our cities. You look up into holes where figures are trapped in a world of ventilation shafts and cooling systems.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Great Turbine Hall with the glazed light-box balconies


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The grey people in Juan Muñoz’s “Double Bind” installation.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Millennium Bridge by

Norman Foster and Partners seen from the Tate Modern

Other stops included the soon to open orange-and-pink Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile Museum by Ricardo Legorreta and the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Daniel Libeskind. If you are in London at the end of the month Richard Rogers will be giving a lecture in the Libeskind pavilion.


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The Zandra Rhodes Fashion and Textile Museum


Photo: Kirsten Kiser The new pavilion by Daniel Libeskind outside the Serpentine Gallery


This is all for now….. much more to come.

P.S. Two great artists, Richard Serra and Cy Twombly, received the Golden Lions Masters of Contemporary Art award at the 49th Venice Biennale.