I was a British Council Fellow at the Venice Biennale in 2019, and my research project was to study GD... Read More
I was a British Council Fellow at the Venice Biennale in 2019, and my research project was to study GD Tiepolo's fresco Il Mondo Nuovo, in the Ca'Rezzonico. It is a beautiful and, I think, somewhat anomalous painting; Tiepolo painted it in his retirement as a decoration for his villa so it may have been pure self-indulgence, after his years assisting his father in painting the key Rococo works of the C18th.
It is hard to see what is really happening in the painting, which is more a painting of people looking at something than anything else, but I think he is showing us a Venice in its decline, fascinated by the Spectacle while its power crumbles away, and in that it is analogous to the Biennale itself - the great Spectacular of Western visual arts, with all its critique of climate change, power, authority, held on this sinking island playground-temple to Beauty. My own response drags in personal anecdote, allusion, and ethnographic observation.
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