Refresh Yourself | CREATIVITY
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“Art is not about art. Art is about life, and that sums it up”Louise Bourgoise


In October 2017, I had the chance to visit the 57th Venice Biennale.  As an exhibitor in Parma Art Fair synchronised with the Biennale gave me a good opportunity to visit this unique art event which has always been the merit of contemporary art.

According to Wikipedia; “Biennale” is Italian and means “very other year”. Comprehansing any event that is happening every year and most commonly used within the modern art world.

I think, that inspirational, lovely Venice is an artwork itself and an ideal host for this most prestigious art event, which surprisingly already started in 1895.

I want to give you a little insight about my trip to Venice. Especially Giardini and Arsenale are two must see locations at the Biennale.

Even before starting my trip to the Biennale, I was so determined keeping all my senses open, observe and absorbe everything I will see, feel and experience there. I definitely wanted to remember all of my Biennale experience so I wrote, drew and shot pictures as well.

During my stay in Venice, the most inspiring experience was the diversity and variety of ideas exhibited at the Biennale. The professionalism in production and curation of many different medias were really eye catching and there were definitely beautiful, exiting and unique artwork.

The Venetians are still keeping “her” in such a good condition (I would like to tag the city as a female) that as soon as you take steps in the narrow streets of this exiting city you get embraced by the feeling of travelling in time.

My journey of the Biennale started with a vaporetto trip by Grand Canal. Which gave me the opportunity to see the lovely historic city of Venice.

Then I went on with the pavilions in Giardini where I met Cyprian Muresan’s section which was another deep impact. Muresan, is a Romanian artist (1977) who works with very basic material. In his artworks he used pencil on paper and illustrated a whole book in one piece of paper layer on layer. Each layer slightly distracting and overtaking the previous one. When I first saw his artworks, I immediately got struck by the feeling of “you have to get closer and look at it from a different perspective” close as you are actually reading a book. I got so excited as soon as I realized that each artwork in the room was a precious novel itself. Just letting the observer think about all the moments in life, layer by layer, building up our own stories. Time and space, real action which becomes completely abstract. Only the trace of the very moment matters. The trace that is shaping our personal history, right there in the here and now.

Another artist John Waters was directly manifesting with his very criticising works of contemporary art. His works were almost like a self criticism towards contemporary style of living and understanding art itself.

Between 2010 and 2013 I had my own series called BUBBLES, which I could reflect to Martin Cordiano’s Common Places project. Common Places was being displayed in Arsenale, the impressive, historic, monumental building which was the host for many monumental sized high quality art projects.

Kananginak Pootoogook, for example on the other hand, made me think about the differences in life routines, according to our geography. His adorable simplicity and clearity of the expression with using coloured pencils and ink on paper.

Living in London since 2016, I have the opportunity to see very high quality exhibitions besides having the privilege to be a part of this city’s great art scene. Nevertheless the Venice Biennale was breath taking and actually like inhaling contemporary art deep into my heart and soul. Within my Refresh Yrslf CREATIVITY workshops I am and I will always emphasize the importance of LIVING WITH ART IS ESSENTIAL AND NOURISHING FOR YOUR HEART AND SOUL. During these workshops we do practically create our own art piece as well as we get the opportunity to talk about masters, their master pieces and their interesting way of living.

Been there, done that, proud and lucky and for sure, absolutely happy to share with Refresh readers! Maybe we will be visiting togehter next version, so mark your calendar for 2019’s Venice Binnale starting from the 11th May 2019.

Esra Kızır Gökçen London,December 2017


Some Notes for curious cats; The 57th Venice Bienale 2017 had 120 invited artists , 86 Pavilions of different participant countries and over 615000 visitors.

Christine Macel the chief curator of 2017 Venice Bienale has declared:

“Today, in a world full of conflicts and shocks, art bears witness to the most precious part of what makes us human. Art is the ultimate ground for reflection, individual expression, freedom, and for fundamental questions. Art is the last bastion, a garden to cultivate above and beyond trends and personal interests. It stands as an unequivocal alternative to individualism and indifference.”

“The role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are more crucial than ever before within the framework of contemporary debates. It is in and through these individual initiatives that the world of tomorrow takes shape, which though surely uncertain, is often best intuited by artists than others.

For the next time, Ralph Rugoff, director of London’s Hayward Gallery, will serve as the artistic director of the 2019 Venice Biennale.