Postcard From Venice: Laure Heriard Dubreuil Reports From The Biennale
The Webster co-founder Laure Heriard Dubreuil and her boyfriend, artist Aaron Young (top), hit Venice this week for the legendary Biennale di Venezia. For those farther than a vaporetto away from the action, she’s sending back updates on the sights and the sounds (and a few parties, too).
I arrived in Venice for the Biennale on the morning of Memorial Day, with my boyfriend, Aaron Young. We decided to come a little earlier to enjoy Venice and the beautiful, early summer weather before the fair officially begins—a little calm before the madness! I hadn’t been to Venice since last September when I came for Adam Kimmel and Leelee Sobieski’s wedding, and I have to say I’m looking forward to this trip. I just love Venice and have never been disappointed by its magic!
We took a vaporetto from the airport to our hotel, and we could feel the energy of everybody getting ready for the festivities: art pieces being set up, gardeners doing the last touch-ups, workers putting on the last coat of paint, even cranes being moved around on ships, all for the city to look its best to welcome the “Contemporary Art World.” We’re staying at the Europa Hotel (above), one of the old palazzos on the Grand Canal right next to Palazzo Bauer. We had drinks there with Stefano Tonchi before hitting the famous Harry’s Bar for bellinis and carpaccio with Rob Pruitt, who’s here for a month to teach at an art school.
On Tuesday, we spent the entire day at the Biennale preview—the fair doesn’t technically open until the 1st. We saw everything—I especially liked Navid Nuur’s neon pieces (below), and Emily Wardill’s films—but I have to say my favorite piece so far is Urs Fischer’s Untitled. It showcases a life-sized sculpture of the Italian artist Rudolf Stingel (left) made out of wax, gazing at a marble statue that looks like a Bernini sculpture. The sculptures are giant candles and there are many wicks everywhere—I guess a different one will be lit throughout the exhibition. You can see the residues of melted wax on the floor. We got super-lucky to see it right at the beginning when it’s almost entirely intact; I can’t wait to see how it’ll look at the end of the Biennale…it’s ever-evolving.
Living in Miami, it meant a lot for me to go to the Latin American Pavilion, called Entre Siempre y Jamàs (Between Forever and Never). And growing up wanting to become a “nose”—that is, a fragrance maker—and having a very developed sense of smell, I was blown away by Cuban artist Reynier Leyva Novo’s Los Olores de la Guerra (The Smells of War). Novo uses the sense of smell to catalyze historical memory, creating perfumes based on the combination of essences extracted from elements present at the sites of the three battles for Cuba’s independence at the end of the nineteenth century, in which the great patriotic leaders were mortally wounded by the Spanish colonial troops. He worked with the alchemist Yanelda Mendoza and historian José Abreu Cardet to collect herbs, mud, palm leaves, rainwater, and river water from the original sites to make these fragrances. Each was totally different and special, and I have to say they all smell extremely good.