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Biennale for Beginners #1

The first time I went to the Biennale, I did it almost by accident. We were in Venice, it was on, so I Googled and worked it out from there. Assuming others will do the same, and with a few more months of Biennale 2017 to go, here are some of my helpful hints.

  • Take a ticket for the queue to get tickets. Italians love order, so do what you are told and it works brilliantly.

  • 7-day tickets require ID, so take it with you and have it with you whenever you go into the Biennale because they check.

  • Arsenale contains lots of amazing art, is inside and air-conditioned, whereas the pavilions in Giardini and elsewhere involve getting very hot (or wet sometimes), so decide what to see depending on the weather.

  • Do not stand between a projector and the wall on which the art is being projected, please!

So, to Biennale 2017.

Outside, for free, check out Carole Feuerman's amazingly spookily life-like swimmers in the garden facing the waterfront – beautiful and gob-smacking execution.

In Arsenale, ‘marble’ towers discussing the over-use and waste of the world's natural assets taught me more about lithium than I ever knew. On a similar theme, wax casts of spent rubber trees are eerie but the wax works themselves are amazing sculptures.

In this glorious space, a huge ‘crocheted’ (my vocabulary falls short when it comes to contemporary art technique) Shaman tent, encourages participation and lends a somewhat pagan amusement to the otherwise often erstwhile contemporary art.

Younes Rahmoun stretches canvas in a way that is slightly disturbing, but demonstrates real skill and makes me wonder why people do not play with the shapes and forms of canvas more often, rather than just using it as a carrier for other art.

Finally Sheila Hicks' amazing huge balls of coloured fibre look playful, but cleverly really explore the boundaries between art and craft.

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