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7 DAYS LATER: Venice Biennale 2015

View of Venice
Written by
Sarah McLean
Published date
18 December 2015

This autumn, almost 50 students from across Camberwell’s undergraduate Fine Art programme were lucky enough to visit the Venice Beinnale 2015 in its closing days.

Curated by Okwui Enwezor and entitled All the World’s Futures, the Biennale this year showcased exhibitions on behalf of 89 countries from around the world.  Here, we speak to second year BA Drawing student, Nathan Frazer, who gives us an overview of the trip and his highlights of the Biennale, and the ice cream he ate…


“It was a five day trip to venice to catch the last days of the biennale. We stayed in a nice hotel not too far from the main attractions and sites (and there was a brilliant cafe next to it which did the best gelato ever, I was awful and got gelato every day) the hotel also did free breakfast which was our daily incentive to get out of bed.”

“We had some group talks and site visits arranged each day which was really nice because it encouraged us to stick together and be sociable as a group and of course talk about art as a group. The majority of the time we were on free time and could do what we wanted, which was also great once we got the Biennale passes because if we got exhausted looking at art for hours and hours we could hobble away and buy souvenir masks or eat some of that amazing ice cream.”

“I just want to talk about the ice cream a bit actually, they had this flavour called ‘sachet’:  had some jaffa cake style filler in there, cake chunks, dark rich chocolate flavour… it was phenomenal.”

venice 864_web

One of the activities that students took part in during their time in Venice was attend a talk with Juan Bolivar, a London-based artist, curator and Lecturer in Painting at Camberwell College of Arts.  The aim of the seminar, Juan explained to us, was: “to provide an opportunity for students to discuss some of the implications of viewing an exhibition, highlighting some of mechanisms by which transference of meaning occurs and posing the question whether there is an autonomy to the (art) object’s ability to ‘radiate’ meaning, or whether this is dependant on context and/or other factors modifying the interpretation of a work.” The presentation lasted about an hour followed by an open discussion, and visit to the Arsenale section of the biennale.

The trip gave students lots of opportunities to socialize and interact with each other across course and subject boundaries. Nathan explained: “One of my favorite things about the trip was that I really enjoyed meeting students from across all the courses… Art-wise I loved the subject of the Biennale ‘All The World’s Futures’ – a lot of very interesting subjects were touched upon in the works, very political. The location was wonderful – going to a city like Venice there is so much to attract you besides the Biennale and I think that is important.”


With artists exhibiting from all over the world, the Venice Biennale is also an exciting place to find inspiration as an artist.  When asked about how the visit made him think about his own work and practice, and whether it would change or inspire anything in particular, Nathan responded: “I saw a couple of works in particular which made my eyes pop out – actually I think the trip may have inspired me to take a more traditional route with my work: painting, drawing. Seeing so much art presented in so many different ways has also forced me to consider the ways I might present my own work in future.”


Find out more about studying Fine Art at Camberwell on our undergraduate course pages.

Find out more about the Venice Biennale on their website.