Sunday, May 26, 2013

Venice Biennale 2013: Portugal Pavilion

(photos compressed for page display: click on each for full resolution)
Although the 55th Venice Biennale hasn't yet opened, it's already possible to enjoy (at least partly) the entry from Portugal: a real cacilheiro, or Lisbon ferry, transformed by the artist Joana Vasconcelos with traditional Portuguese azulejos (hand-painted ceramic tiles) and docked at the Riva dei Partigiani near the Biennale's pavilions in the Giardini Pubblicci.

An excellent English-language description of the work (entitled Trafaria Praia) by Miguel Amado, which includes background on the materials used, a short biography of the artist, and a photo of the ferry before its transformation by Vasconcelos can be found here:

I had the chance to take some photos of the floating pavilion/art work yesterday evening (while artist assistants looked to be firming up any tiles that may have come loose in transit) and early this morning when no one was around--except for two passing cruise ships, each spewing a large-parking-lot's-worth of exhaust into the air, the second less than a half hour after the first, slouching toward their berths. Against a backdrop of such mammoth indulgence and destructiveness the Trafaria Praia, humanly-scaled and hand-crafted, seemed very much like a gift, a token of sympathy and connection from one challenged sea-faring city to another. 


  1. Bravo Joana Vasconcelos!
    Bravo, Portugal!

    1. I agree. I haven't been inside the "pavilion" yet, or taken a ride on it--they're giving regular ones throughout the day--but I think it's a marvelous creation.