This is a project about how each of us defines, remembers and shares our encounters with beauty. There are three stages to the project. First, prior to Venice, I am collecting stories from friends and strangers about their encounters with beauty.
Second, in the Scarpa garden of the Biennale International Pavilion, a host in costume will stroll through the galleries. S/he will approach a single visitor and invite them to the garden, where they will find a single chair, and a soundscape of summer insect song. They will be asked to sit in the chair and simply enjoy the beauty while the host leaves them alone to go retrieve a gift for them. The host will return to the garden minutes later, bearing a small package for the visitor, and explain that this gift comes with a stipulation: the visitor may take the gift with them when they leave the museum, but may only open it after their next encounter with beauty, preferably outside the Giardini area.
This is the third stage of the project. The encounter may be when the visitor is walking in Venice that evening, or when they hear a church bell, or see a young girl in a red dress, or perhaps notice a bird flying above them. Any of these experiences, or many others, could be the experience that invites them to open the gift. Once they do, they will find inside the story of another person’s encounter with beauty.
Commissioned for the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia “Viva Arte Viva” (2017), curated by Christine Macel