September 30, 2004

Some Account of Biennale di Venezia 2004

An installation in the Italian Pavilion.


For some strange reasons, I’ve got the request to write an article about the Biennale di Venezia for a Taiwanese magazine. Not knowing too much about architecture, I’ve collected newspaper cuttings for some days to have a broad picture about the view and opinion from the Italian media. Within a week, I was able to complete a decent article. Due to this reason, I’ve got some ideas about the Biennale at the beginning of the exhibition and decided to go take a look in Venice.

A beautiful Sunday morning, we went to Venice to visit the exhibition with two friends. When we arrived the Giardini, it’s almost noontime. After collecting our tickets and entered the Giardini, we started visiting pavilions of all participating countries from the Spanish Pavilion.

花了一個下午,我們只大略瀏覽了綠園城堡,根本就來不及去另一個展場軍火庫看看。綠園城堡區內的國家館,給了我很奇怪的印象,由於事先就已經注意到媒體評論以及得獎名單,我對幾個受到好評的展示區特別多看了兩眼,卻讓我大失所望。整體而言,在這次建築雙年展中,裝置藝術與建築的界線並不是那麼明顯,在義大利館內尤其如此,其他幾個較受好評的館,包括英國、德國、日本、還有得獎的比利時等,只有英國與德國有讓人眼睛一亮的感覺,尤其是英國館內有關Dublin Spike的架設過程,更是讓我大開眼界。某位評論家所大力推薦的日本館,以御宅族為主題,在我眼中,不過是西方社會對於日本文化的好奇心驅策下的產物,這與建築有啥顯而易見的關聯,我到現在仍然百思不解。
We took the whole afternoon visiting the Giardini. To get to the Arsenale was just impossible. The overall impression I got from the Giardini is quite strange. Having read some criticisms in advance, I paid some extra attention of the areas that received positive comments. However, it’s such a big disappointment to me. It seems to me that the boundary between installation art and architecture is diminishing, and it’s especially obvious in the Italian pavilion. Other pavilions that are highly praised include UK, Germany, Japan and Belgium. However, only the British pavilion impressed me, especially for the video about the construction of the Dublin Spike. In my opinion, the Japanese pavilion with its exhibition about the Otakus that was highly recommended by some critics is only a curiosity that was born due to the western curiosity to the Japanese culture. The link between the exhibition and architecture is not so obvious and I’m still wondering about it even now.

In the experts’ eyes, this is “The Biennale” that one shouldn’t miss. After visiting the Giardini that is said to be better in sense of exhibition, I’m more curious to judge the Arsenale area with my own eyes.

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September 24, 2004

A Painter Who Paints Jazz

Mirca, her husband Mauro and my husband were high school classmates. They were one of the few people that I got to know during my first visit to Italy. With their special family story, I was deeply impressed at the first time we met. After I moved to Italy, we sometime go visiting them and I got to know that Mirca is a painter. The particular paintings I saw in Mauro’s shop are actually her art works.

There’s an opening ceremony of Mirca’s exhibition tonight. The place used to be a church and now serves as a place for artistic exhibition. We arrived on time at 6PM. and there’re already many visitors. After we greeted Mirca, we started to make a short tour of all the works, until the organizer was ready to give a talk.

I can feel another self of Mirca from her paintings. It’s not the same person that I see normally. It’s someone of profound character. This is the second time I attended her exhibition. There’s always a special feeling when I saw her works, but I just couldn’t find the right thing and right word to explain my feelings. Tonight, when the organizer was giving his speech at the center of the exhibition hall, he mentioned jazz. At that very moment, there’s a “!” in my mind. That’s it! Yes, Mirca’s paintings are like jazz music to me, sometimes deep, sometimes light, but with strong messages.

I don’t know much about paintings. I was even against the idea to go to art galleries, because I felt I didn’t belong. After I moved to Italy, probably due to the “air”, I started to change. Now I’d even enjoy it. It’s actually quite fun to go see paintings.

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September 23, 2004

Mom's Visit - Walking in the Fishermen Island

Though the island itself has become a popular tourist attraction, there are still some fishermen who live a simple life on this tiny small place. The antique and rustic atmosphere makes it my favorite among all places I’ve visited around Lago Maggiore. Walking through the narrow alley with stone pavement and enjoying the relaxed air about it, time seemed to have frozen in this old village on the lake.

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Mom's Visit - Isola dei Pescatori

Time flied so fast when we were chatting and enjoying the landscape. It seemed that we arrived the Fisherman Island (Isola dei Pescatori) within short time, but in reality it took us more than an hour for the trip. It’s still early for lunch. So we decided to walk around on the isle.

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September 22, 2004

Mom's Visit - Lago Maggiore

When the weather is nice, the landscape is especially beautiful around the lakeside.

We decided to go to Lago Maggiore at northwest of Milan during the weekend, so we could ask Luca, my husband’s best friend, to take us for a boat ride on the lake. However, the weather turned windy on Friday night. The north wind brought down the temperature. It’s strange enough that the temperature was only 15℃ in the hot summer night. In the next morning, it’s still quite wavy on the lake and made it impossible to go out with smaller boat. Luckily, we could still choose to take the cruise to travel among the isles. At that moment, it’s the only way if we wanted to visit Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Bella.

Sitting on the big cruise and looking outward, there’re lots of sailing boats taking the chance for a nice ride. With the reflection of sunlight, the whole lake seemed so busy.

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September 20, 2004

Mom's Visit - Arena di Verona

When I got married in 2001, my mom brought a group of relatives to come and participate my wedding. Because she needed to help me with the preparation, she couldn’t join the group to see the opera in Verona on the night before the wedding. It was one of the many regrets of the trip. This time, we definitely wanted to take her to the opera and experience the famous opera season in Verona.

To avoid the long queue under the sun, we bought the tickets with assigned seats. To enjoy this privilege, we did pay some money for it and altogether it’s about 200 Euro. If I go to Verona for the opera with my husband, we always buy the cheapest tickets, spending some more time on the queue. To save some energy, we decided to pay the expensive price. Therefore, I could only leave my husband at home and go with my mom alone, to save some money. It is not until we decided to do this that I know my husband is so confident about my Italian and he wouldn’t mind I go around by myself any more.

We had a simple dinner, only a sandwich and a bottle of mineral water. It’s about 9PM. To be honest, it was the very first time for me to arrive the venue just before the performance started. In the past, we always arrived around 5PM to join the queue and wait until the hour when the performance began. After a couple hours sitting on the hard stone seat, it’s giving me backache and my butt was numb. It’s the first time I could comfortably enjoy the opera.

We followed the service personnel to our seats. I was worried because we booked the ticket through the net and couldn’t choose the seats with the system. It proved that the organizer did according to their promise and assigned the seats with a “first come first serve” basis. Our seats were just at the center, beside the red carpet for the VIPs. At least I didn’t spend the money for nothing.

Before the performance started, a guy went up to the stage with a big gong and announced three times. After that, the light went off gradually. The organizer invited the audience to light up candles according to the tradition of Arena di Verona. Suddenly, spots of candlelight filled up the space, creating a very romantic atmosphere.

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September 18, 2004

Mom's Visit: Vicenza

"I've come here for several times... but I've never visited the city where you live." Mom said. Well, Vicenza is actually a good place to visit, but for various reasons I just couldn't find the time to take my mom around during her last two visits. She's finally staying a bit longer this time, so we picked a nice afternoon to visit the historic center of Vicenza.

維琴察除了每年有三次義大利最著名的黃金飾品展以外,也是建築人朝聖地之一,原因無他,就是為了十六世紀著名的建築大師帕拉底歐的作品,因此,許多建築人常常會到維琴察來個帕拉底歐之旅,仔細地參觀各座出於大師之手的豪華宅邸。在維琴察的市中心,必訪之處有二,一是到主廣場Piazza dei Signori看Basilica Palladiana,二則是Teatro Olympico,都是大師之作。事實上,維琴察又有帕拉底歐之城的美名,整個市中心也因為大師留下來的重要作品,被聯合國列入世界遺產名錄之中。
Every year, three major gold fairs are held in Vicenza. However, Vicenza is not only famous for the gold industry, it is also a pilgrimage place for architects due to Palladian villas of the 16th century. Many architects come to see the grand villas designed by Palladio. There are two must-go in Vicenza center. One is the Basilica Palladiana in the main square Piazza dei Signori. The other is Teatro Olympico at one side of the major street Corso Palladio. Both sites were important works that Palladio left behind. Vicenza actually enters the World Heritage List for its richness of Palladian works.

We had an early lunch. My husband sent us to the center. The time was just right for visiting the theater and museum, and then for some shopping. August is time for vacation and many cities are actually empty. In less touristic places, some shops are closed for vacation. It is a good time to visit Italy for those who do not enjoy crowds but can endure hot weather.

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September 17, 2004

Mom's Visit: Venezia

"It's the third time you visit your dayghter in Italy. Are you still going to Venice?" Dad asked.

Of course!! It's impossible to be tired of the every changing beauty of Venice. Also, the previous two visits were in such a hurry that my mom didn't really get to see some tourist attractions. After all, it's just an hour of train. So why didn't we go?

My mom and I decided to go without the company of my husband, so he could finally enjoy a Chinese-free day. I go to Venice pretty often, but to tell the truth, I still can't remember any name of the streets. All the time, I follow my sense of direction to arrive the San Marco Square. "Why didn't you take me to the shop where I bought glass pendants last time?" My mom asked. No until that moment I didn't realize that I've turned at the wrong corner again. It's impossible to go backward just for that single shop. So we started to wander around, and followed the indication for San Marco Square. When we saw the San Marco Church, it's already time for lunch. We then decided to find a place for some light snack.

用餐完畢,一到總督府(Palazzo Ducale)前面,我們兩就傻了眼,大排長龍的隊伍,讓人看了有點心慌,不知是否應該加入行列…「下次人少一點再進去,既然以後還有機會,就等著下次和老爹一起看吧!」
After we finished our meal, we went to Pallazo Ducale and saw a very long line in front of the entrance. I was a bit worried, not knowing if we should join the queue or not. "We can wait for another occasion. In any case, I will still come here to visit you. We can wait until your dad come next time."

Summer... is not a good time to visit Venice.

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September 10, 2004

Mom's Visit: Marostica




Mom's Visit: Matostica Posted by Hello

September 05, 2004

Mom's Visit: a short trip





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