Wednesday, July 31, 2013

OUTERSPACE EXPLOSION! What's Playing on the Lido - 70th Venice Film Festival 2013

GRAVITY - Sandra Bullock & George Clooney
(Venice, Italy) Whenever George Clooney arrives in Venice his wattage lights up the entire town, which is why it's excellent news that Alfonso Cuaron’s long-awaited  Gravity will open the 70th edition of the Venice International Film Festival. Also starring another Hollywood-great, Sandra Bullock, the human stars are adrift amongst the celestial stars after a space explosion -- in 3D! Could there be a more awesome film to kick off the festival?!

The entire Venice Film Festival line-up was announced last week in Rome, the USA showing a strong presence with 18 feature films in the official selection, seven in competition. If you are a long-time reader of Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog, you will know that I love Hollywood (after having lived there for many years), and am an unabashed flag-waving American patriot when it comes to American films on the Lido. In addition, I think George Clooney is a very wise man, in addition to being gorgeous, charming and witty, so I am very much looking forward to this year's festival.

I've read different numbers about how many US films are in competition, and the discrepancy seems to be if you include Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem and Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, which are joint UK, USA productions. I say, let's include 'em because those are two very cool Brits. Terry Gilliam has always been one of my favorites, and the plot of The Zero Theorem sounds right up his alley. Whenever life becomes too ridiculous, we must be thankful that Terry Gilliam is still on the planet to set things straight. From Wikipedia:

Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as "Management", Qohen works to solve the "Zero Theorem" – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning. Qohen's work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management.

Under the Skin directed by Jonathan Glazer is based on the sci-fi novel by Michael Faber where human beings are an extraterrestrial delicacy. Yum! Scarlet Johansson stars. From Wikipedia:

The protagonist is Isserley, an extraterrestrial sent to Earth by a rich corporation on her planet to pick up unwary hitchhikers. She drugs them and delivers them to her compatriots, who mutilate and fatten her victims so that they can be turned into meat—human ("vodsel") flesh is a delicacy on the aliens' barren homeworld. The novel is darkly satirical. It touches on political themes around big business, intensive farming, and environmental decay; and reflects on more personal questions of sexual identity, humanity, snobbery, and mercy.

 The five USA films are:

1. Child of God directed by James Franco, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy:

Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." Ballard's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation.

2. Joe, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Nicolas Cage, based on the novel by Larry Brown. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Joe tells the story of an ex-con who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of small town Mississippi.

3. Parkland directed by Peter Landesman. From Wikipedia:

Parkland is an upcoming drama film directed by Peter Landesman, and produced by Guy East, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Nigel Sinclair. It will star Zac Efron, Tom Welling, James Badge Dale, Paul Giamatti, Jacki Weaver, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden and Bitsie Tulloch. It will follow the events that occurred at Parkland Memorial Hospital after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. It is scheduled to be shown in the main competition section of the 70th Venice International Film Festival and at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

4. The Unknown Known, directed by Academy-Award winner Errol Morris, a documentary about Donald Rumsfeld.

The Unknown Known (also known as The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld) is an upcoming American documentary film directed by Errol Morris. It has been selected to be screened in the main competition section at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.

5. Night Moves by Kelly Reichardt. From Wikipedia:

Deadline.com described the film as about "three radical environmentalists who come together to execute the most spectacular direct action event of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.

Sounds like an intriguing bunch of entries from the States, especially because the President of this year's jury is the world famous Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who directed one of my favorite films of all times, Last Tango in Paris.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fireworks in Venice - Redentore 2013

Redentore - Photo - Il Gazzettino
(Venice, Italy) Today is the third Sunday in July, which can only mean one thing: the Festa del Redentore, or the Feast of the Redeemer, when Venice celebrates its redemption from the plague. The celebration has been going on for 436 years, starting back in 1577.

In terms of history, Venice was going through some intense times. In August 1571, they lost their wealthy colony, Famagusta, on Cyprus to the Ottoman Turks, who brutally tortured and flayed alive Marcantonio Bragadin, the Venetian Captain of the Kingdom of Cyprus -- today his skin is here in Venice in the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

This sparked the famous Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 when Pope Pius V sent the Holy League to rescue the Venetian colony from the Turks. The Christians won, preventing the Ottoman Empire from expanding further along the European side of the Mediterranean, but Venice did lose Cyprus. 

Church of the Redentore
Then between 1575 and 1577, Venice was ravaged by the plague, which wiped out nearly 50,000 people, almost a third of the population. The Venetians became convinced it was divine punishment for their sins. Desperate, powerless to stop it, in the midst of the desolation, on September 4, 1576, the Venetian Senate voted to ask the Redeemer, or the Redentore, for help, vowing to build a magnificent temple in thanksgiving. They commissioned the great architect, Andrea Palladio, to design the church, and on May 3, 1577 the Patriarch of Venice laid the cornerstone.

And it worked! Just two months later, on July 13, 1577, the plague was declared officially over. After it was consecrated in 1592, the Church of Redentore was placed in the charge of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Every year the Doge, the Patriarch and the Senate walked across a pontoon bridge to attend Mass on the third Sunday in July, grateful for all the good they had received.

Hello Venezia
Now, 436 years later, the same celebration continues. Venice continues to sin, and needs yearly redemption as much as ever. Venice no longer has a Doge and a Senate, but we have a mayor, and the Patriarch and the Capuchins are still around. The evening before the third Sunday in July, the Venetians throw an enormous party, with people from all over the Veneto arriving in their boats to watch a stupendous fireworks display. The fondamenta on the Giudecca is lined with tables heaped with traditional food. Terraces and balconies are filled with revelers; Piazzo San Marco is jammed with tourists to watch the show.

This year, according to Il Gazzettino, the local paper, more than 120,000 people viewed the fireworks in more than 2,000 boats, which, in addition to the typical Venetian boats, included "speed boats, yachts and super-yachts" prompting Mayor Giorgio Orsoni to declare that "false friends" of Venice would have the world believe that Venice was dying, when, in fact, the city was alive and enthusiastic.

Hello Venezia
Venice has been through many tough times throughout history, but somehow manages to keep on keeping on. Just that Venice exists is impossible, a city with streets of water, a labyrinth to be navigated, filled with heavenly architecture and precious art.

More than four centuries ago, when human beings were powerless to stop it, the Redeemer saved the population from the deadly plague. In remembrance, the Festa del Redentore celebrates the ongoing life of Venice, and the Church of Redentore stands as an awesome monument of thanksgiving.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Friday, July 19, 2013

EARTHQUAKE - Ai Weiwei in Venice

"Accusers" from Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D. (2011-2013)
(Venice, Italy) Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist, was deeply affected by the Great Sichuan Earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008, killing nearly 70,000 people. More than 5,000 of the dead were schoolchildren who died as a result of the shoddy construction of their classrooms -- part of China's economic boom. Back then, Ai Weiwei strongly criticized the Chinese government for not providing an official tally of the names and numbers of the dead schoolchildren, and set about gathering his own record.

This is from Art Asia Pacific Magazine way back in July/August 2009, detailing the censorship and harassment of Ai Weiwei and his mother -- in fact, the harassment of anyone who stuck their nose into the details of the earthquake:

Ai & the Dead Schoolchildren
The Chinese government rarely makes concessions to its citizens, especially when it involves allegations of governmental mismanagement and the actions of artist Ai Weiwei. However, the government’s unexpected announcement on May 5 that 5,335 students died in last year’s Sichuan earthquake appears to have been in response to efforts by Ai Weiwei and other Chinese activists to call the government into account for the deaths. This was the first official figure released in what has become a politically sensitive issue following accusations from parents that substandard construction caused the collapse of more than 7,000 classrooms in the region. ...

... Ai’s 76-year-old mother recently became a target of police attention as well. On May 26, four plainclothes policemen entered her home in eastern Beijing and interrogated her about Ai’s residence near the airport. She then phoned her son, who was attending a reception at the American Embassy for United States congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. After receiving her call, Ai rushed home. When the officers in his mother’s house refused to present identification, Ai dialed the emergency number 110. Additional police officers soon arrived and all parties went to the local police station to file a report, a copy of which was never provided to the artist. ...

...On the morning of May 26, a post on Ai’s blog called for volunteers with engineering and technical expertise to aid in a “construction standards investigation,” a future Sichuan earthquake-related initiative. The post suggests that the privately conducted, state-sponsored investigations have been deeply flawed. Volunteers are asked to contact FAKE Design Studio to assist with their ongoing inquiry into the collapsed schools’ structural integrity.

Click to read the entire 2009 Art Asia Pacific Magazine article by Katherine Grube, which was written four years ago:  

Ai Weiwei Challenges China’s Government Over Earthquake

Ai Weiwei STRAIGHT (2008-2012)
Fast-forward to the Venice Biennale in 2013 where Ai Weiwei has two collateral events that together make up an installation entitled DISPOSITION (in addition to his BANG, the German contribution in the French Pavilion). One event is called STRAIGHT over at the new Zuecca Project Space on Giudecca close to the Zitelle vaporetto stop, and was directly inspired by the earthquake. Ai Weiwei and his team have straightened by hand 150 tons of crumpled, bent steel rebar that was recovered from the collapsed classrooms and brought it here to Venice. The space is filled with undulating rebar that once supported the classrooms. It is a moving memorial to the dead schoolchildren, made even more poignant when we remember that Ai Weiwei was arrested on April 2, 2011 at the Beijing airport as he was about to board a flight for Hong Kong. The labor continued while Ai Weiwei was incarcerated, the workers hammering out by hand every single rebar, straightening the twisted steel into something soulful. A video at the installation details the saga, including the citizen's investigation into the faulty construction.

Ai Weiwei STRAIGHT (2008-2012)
The second part of DISPOSITION is called S.A.C.R.E.D. and is at the Church of Sant' Antonin. The pews have been taken out of the church, replaced by six black, weighty two-and-a-half-ton iron boxes. Inside each box is a different scene of Ai's forced captivity after he was taken into custody on April 2, 2011 by the Chinese authorities. We, the viewers, stand on a step and peer inside the box, observing Ai Weiwei under surveillance. The six dioramas are:

S=SUPPER
A=ACCUSERS
C=CLEANSING
R=RITUAL
E=ENTROPY
D=DOUBT

S.A.C.R.E.D. by Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei was not here in Venice for his openings because the Chinese government has taken his passport away, so his 82-year-old mother, Gao Ying, came instead. (Perhaps the American Edward Snowden, who is also without a passport, should consider changing careers while he's at the airport in Russia -- he could create a magnificent art project inspired by his exile.) I thought how fortunate Ai Weiwei was to have a mother who supported him in his struggles against a corrupt government instead of a mother like my own, the soon-to-be-80-year-old Dorothy Wydock, who actively works with corrupt officials inside the United States government to destroy her own daughter.

From PHAIDON:

Ai Weiwei's mother Gao Ying, turned up to the opening of his new exhibit in Venice, this morning. Gao, who's in her early eighties attended in lieu of her son who the Chinese authorities refuse to allow to travel. She has been one of her son's most vocal supporters and has accused officials of hounding her son, describing their approach as "creepy, crooked and evil".

Ai Weiwei's mother Gao Ying views her son's artwork S.A.C.R.E.D - photo by Marguerite Horner
One of the definitions of "disposition" is c (1) : transfer to the care or possession of another (2) : the power of such transferal. Speaking as someone who was not only without my US passport for nearly four years, who the United States government tried to illegally rendition right out of Italy, who was under surveillance, and who was forcibly hospitalized against my will, I found Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D. deeply moving. It is as if certain people who work for the government -- no matter what nation, no matter what system  -- have lost their humanity and are fascinated to the point of obsession about the behavior of those who have maintained their ability to empathize. Hence, the constant surveillance, cyber and otherwise. Those who have lost their humanity observe real human beings like they are watching animals in a zoo.


In Ai Weiwei's case, there were two government workers who had him under constant observation, up close and personal, even in the toilet, even while he slept, for 81 days. What kind of people would perform such a job? Since I actually know several of the people involved in my own case, I can state that there is something seriously lacking in their core -- perhaps governments deliberately screen out people capable of compassion. Perhaps human beings like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning slip through the cracks because of their youth, high intelligence and cyber skills -- skills that require a soul, like artists -- skills the governments cannot imagine nor ever reproduce. 

"Doubt" from Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D. (2011-2013)
According to the May 28, 2013 The Independent, Ai sneaked the art work out of China:

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has secretly spent 18 months creating six sculptures of the 81 days he spent in detention in China for “tax evasion” in 2011 and has shipped them out of the country. The six works, entitled S.A.C.R.E.D, have gone on display at the Venice Biennale. Ai Weiwei has declined to say how he managed to sneak the artwork out of China. Six shoulder-high iron boxes went on display in the nave of Venice’s Church of Saint’Antonin today. Within each box is a viewing slit revealing scenes of the artist held in detention by Chinese officials.

"Entropy" (Sleep) from Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D. (2011-2013)
Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in confinement, under constant observation by the Chinese government for "tax evasion." Bradley Manning spent 1,101 days in confinement, under constant observation by the United States government, and is now on trial, charged with 21 crimes, including aiding the enemy, espionage, stealing government property, and “wanton publication,” which, according to the Daily Beast, "could leave the 25-year-old facing life plus 149 years in a military prison if convicted."  As I write this, Edward Snowden is still stuck at the airport in Moscow. (Now I understand why the US State Department's presence here in Venice is at the Marco Polo airport:) Is one government better or worse than the other? I will confess that I really believed that the United States was of a higher caliber, and that I am shocked, to this day, to know by direct, personal experience that we are not.

"Supper" from Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D. (2011-2013)
 Former two-time Senator Gordon Humphrey recently voiced his support for Edward Snowden:
...Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out.
Regards,
Gordon Humphrey
 "Growing arrogance." "Menacing nature."  Those are very strong words, and from my own personal experience with the US government, I completely concur. China also used a word that I liked: "sanctimonious."

China’s state newspaper, The People’s Daily, wrote: “The United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries’ networks.  . .  The world will remember Edward Snowden. It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.”

"Ritual" from Ai Weiwei's S.A.C.R.E.D (2011-2013)

What the United States of America did to me, one of its own citizens, is an outrage. The actual individuals who broke the law are no better than common thugs. That they hide behind a "sanctimonious mask" in an attempt to disguise their criminal behavior thoroughly disgusts me. As I wrote in my September 5, 2012 letter to Kyle R. Scott, the U.S. Consul General in Milan, I expect nine million euros and apology to correct the situation. An excerpt:

"Because of my good character and hard work, I have earned access to people and venues denied to many foreigners. The United States of America should be honored to have an American such as myself represent our country abroad. Instead, you have attempted to assassinate my character, illegally rendition me back to the USA and have me institutionalized. You have stolen years from my life, not to mention the physical, emotional and mental damage that you intentionally inflicted. You have interfered in the lives of innocent civilians both here in Italy and in the USA. You have spent a fortune in time, energy and money trying to destroy me. It is an outrage. By such behavior, it is clear that your intentions here in Italy are far from honorable. The United States has no right to criticize one single country on this planet until you clean up this mess. Nine million euros and an apology is a bargain."

"Cleansing" from S.A.C.R.E.D. by Ai Weiwei (2011-2013)
A. Daniel Weygandt, the former US Consul General in Milan, once gave me a great compliment. He said,  "Cat, you'll never be a diplomatic, but you sure look good."

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Venice Gets a New Theater - Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi

Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi - Photo Artribune
(Venice, Italy) Imagine walking along the street and seeing a door that you have never seen before. Imagine going through that door and finding yourself inside a fabulous, magical space. And then imagine that inside that space, behind another door, is a theater, and there is a haunting movie looping that you can watch for free.

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
Thanks to François Pinault, the French billionaire and art collector, that fantasy is a reality. After thirty years of neglect, Teatrino, the theater next to Palazzo Grassi, has been spectacularly restored by Tadao Ando, the renowned self-taught Japanese architect. From Wikipedia:

"The simplicity of his architecture emphasizes the concept of sensation and physical experiences, mainly influenced by the Japanese culture. The religious term Zen, focuses on the concept of simplicity and concentrates on inner feeling rather than outward appearance. Zen influences vividly show in Ando’s work and became its distinguishing mark."

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
The Teatrino does feel very Zen, and that's a great thing. The theater was once a Romantic garden, then an outdoor open theater, then a closed theater, then abandoned in 1983. Now it's an 225 seat auditorium that can be used for theatrical performances and screenings, and a foyer that can be used for parties and exhibitions. It reminded me of a mini Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles, and I can imagine all sorts of very cool happenings taking place at Teatrino.

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
So, what movie was looping when I arrived? Marilyn, a 23 minute piece by Philippe Parreno, which I found absolutely riveting. From the handout:

"Marilyn (2012) is a work focused on the idea of celebrating a dead person, of portraying a ghost. It is a fictitious evocation of Marilyn Monroe, the icon of popular culture, and is set in the suite of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where the actress lived in the 1950s. The three algorithms that are used in biometrics to identify an individual, and which respectively correspond to the voice, the handwriting, and iris recognition, reproduce Marilyn's presence. The camera sees with her eyes, a computer reconstructs her voice to describe what the eyes see, and a robot writes with her calligraphy what the voice says. Through the use of a mathematical equation and robotics, the work produces a figure that is almost human -- in the words of the artist "an embodied image." Philippe Parreno has exceptionally agreed to present this work in a screening room, even though it is usually displayed in a proper exhibition space, in the conditions of appearing and disappearing that the work requires."

Photo - The Art Newspaper
When the camera dollies back at the end, showing you what is really going on behind the scenes, the effect is stunning. Parreno said he found it interesting that a little [mathematical] equation could recreate something resembling a human, something quasi-human.

If you are in Venice this week, you can see Marilyn tomorrow, and then again next Sunday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Wednesday and Friday The Sorks: A Concert for Creatures by Loris Gréaud is playing (22 minutes), and on Thursday and Saturday it's 1395 Days Without Red (43 minutes) by Anri Sala, the artist who represents France at this year's Biennale. The films close on Sunday, July 14th, but there will be more films, and jazz, and conferences and classical music at Teatrino -- Circuito Off, the Venice International Short Film Festival will take place there on August 28 through August 31, and that is an excellent venue for it. Click here to view the calendar.

Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi - FB
I love Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi. The building itself is a work of art.

Information: www.palazzograssi.it

Ciao from Venice,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Vision in Crystal - Swarovski's PERSPECTIVES by John Pawson

Perspectives by John Pawson for Swarovski - Photo: Pedro Barrail
(Venice, Italy) Perhaps it's only natural that Swarovski, the world's leading crystal manufacturer, has an illuminated eye into the future. Inspired by one of the greatest architects of the past -- Andrea Palladio, who designed the 16th-century Church of San Giorgio Maggiore -- the largest Swarovski lens ever created  is at the center of Perspectives, a work of art by the minimalist architect John Pawson, running as a collateral event of the Biennale International Art Festival through November 24, 2013.

The installation is simply beautiful, one of the most beautiful man-made objects I have ever seen. The lens, a 40cm wide concave Swarovski crystal meniscus made from optical quality glass, is centered on top of a mirrored stainless-steel hemisphere that John Pawson himself says "almost looks like liquid mercury." Perspectives is positioned directly below the cupola, magnifying Palladio's concentric circles on the ceiling,  creating a dramatic optical experience.

The Swarovski Foundation Photo: Gilbert McCarragher
From Wikipedia:

The first church on the island was built about 790, and in 982, the island was given to the Benedictine order by the Doge Tribuno Memmo. The Benedictines founded a monastery there, but in 1223, all the buildings on the island were destroyed by an earthquake.

The church and monastery were rebuilt after the earthquake. The church, which had a nave with side chapels, was not in the same position as the present church, but farther back at the side of a small campo or square. There were cloisters in front of it, which were demolished in 1516. The monks were considering the rebuilding of the church from 1521.

Palladio arrived in Venice in 1560, when the refectory of the monastery was being rebuilt. He made great improvements to this and in 1565, was asked to prepare a model for a new church.
The model was completed and approved in 1566 and the foundation stone was laid in the presence of the Pope in the same year. The work was not finished before the death of Palladio in 1580, but the body of the church was complete by 1575, except for the choir behind the altar and the facade.
 
Perspectives by John Pawson for Swarovski Photo: Gilbert McCarragher
The newly-established Swarovski Foundation is another exciting example of how the world of fashion and luxury entwines nicely with the world of art and culture. Daniel Swarovski founded the company in 1895 in the magical alpine land of Wattens, Tyrol in Austria. Today, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the foundation is Nadja Swarovski, Daniel's great-great-grandaughter, a real dynamo.

From an April 25, 2013 article in the Wall Street Journal by Alexa Brazilian entitled A Day in the Life of Nadja Swarovski:

Photo: Louise Enhörning
LIKE THE PRECISION-CUT CRYSTAL her great-great grandfather developed in 1895—used in everything from bird-watching binoculars to couture dresses—Nadja Swarovski is seemingly everywhere these days. In any given week you'll find her jetting from London, where she lives with her husband and three young children, to meetings in Beijing, Paris, Los Angeles, New York or her native Wattens, in Tyrol, Austria, where the company is headquartered. Standing just under 6 feet tall, with a physique that defies her 42 years, she speaks five languages and is impervious to jet lag. Go to the WSJ to continue reading.

The first project the foundation has decided to take on is the restoration of poor Saint George standing on the dome of the church, who's missing an arm, among other indignities caused by over-affectionate birds. The project is due to be completed on April 23, 2014, Saint George's Day.

Swarovski Perspectives
 From the Swarovski Foundation's website:

"Swarovski's visionary founder Daniel Swarovski, who established the business in Wattens, Austria, in 1895, demonstrated a strong humanitarian instinct, ensuring that his business cared for its people and the local community. Since then, five generations of the Swarovski family have reinforced Daniel Swarovski's commitment to charitable giving, both within the community and in the wider realms of the environment, health, arts and culture. The Swarovski Foundation has been created to build on this heritage and it will support charitable projects under three main pillars: Fostering Culture and Creativity, Promoting Well-being and Human Rights, and Conserving Natural Resources." 

Hooking up with minimalist architect John Pawson to achieve these goals was a brilliant idea. The crystal lens and its hemisphere are magnificent in its simplicity; the Japanese element of Pawson's background feels perfectly at home in the majestic Palladian church.

John Pawson was born in 1949 in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a period in the family textile business he left for Japan, spending several years teaching English at the business university of Nagoya.
Towards the end of his time there he moved to Tokyo, where he visited the studio of Japanese architect and designer Shiro Kuramata. Following his return to England, he enrolled at the Architecture Association in London, leaving to establish his own practice in 1981.

Please enjoy this short clip of John Pawson giving his perspective on Perspectives:



Perspectives is an excellent example of how a company can create a positive, nurturing relationship with the fragile Venetian infrastructure. All the players involved, from Swarovski, to Pawson, to the monks of San Giorgio, reflect the highest qualities of humanity. By such behavior, the Swarovski brand associates its name with harmony, elegance and respect, setting a shining example for all businesses who wish to operate in Venice and her lagoon. Viewing Palladio's ceiling through the Swarovski crystal lens of Perspectives is like having a glimpse into the world of angels.

Nadja Swarovski views the statue of San Giorgio
PERSPECTIVES by John Pawson
for SWAROVSKI
in collaboration with Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore
Perspectives is shown as a collateral even of the 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia until November 24, 2013

Monday – Saturday: 8.30am – 6.30pm
Sunday: 8.30am – 10.30am 12.30pm – 6.30pm

Click for information on visiting Swarovski's Perspectives

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
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