Simon Castets /
Director of the Swiss Institute, New York
In 1996, my parents took me for what must have been their thirtieth visit. We took the train from Normandy through Paris, overnight, and woke up in the lagoon seemingly floating above the waters. Valentin Carron, who curated the most recent exhibition at Swiss Institute, represented Switzerland at the 2013 Biennale. His exhibition of wall and floor-based sculptures, installations and readymades impacted me so strongly that I thought I had Stendhal syndrome. Of course, I cannot wait to see what the brilliant Pamela Rosenkranz will be doing at the Swiss Pavilion. The tension she creates between shiny, synthetic facades and complex issues of geo-politics, philosophy and pop-culture is sure to challenge and enlighten us all.
I am eagerly anticipating the project by New Zealand's Simon Denny, whose incisive vision of the ways in which power and technology intersect is unparalleled.
I am also looking forward to riding a jet ski through the canals. The gritty portal into the magic of Venice, Piazzale Roma, where you exit from cars and climb onto the boats that will be your mode of transport from then on. Though the Biennale brings in new exhibits and ideas every two years, Tiepolo's frescoed ballroom at the Palazzo Labia is perpetually inspiring and endlessly beautiful.
Palazzo Labia Campo San Geremia Cannaregio Palazzo Grassi, which showcases an incredible collection, has a nuanced and thoughtful program that I was fortunate to participate in last year with 89plus. We hosted a conference featuring a round table and screenings that featured artists including Sarah Abu Abdallah, Josh Bitelli, and Bogosi Sekhukuni.
Palazzo Grassi Campo San Samuele, 3231 palazzograssi.it