The Venice Biennale 2009––June 4th

It is the press launch of the Australian Pavilion and we are greeted by many Australian voices, by red lips and colored stockings. There is a stir as the queuing mounts and the entrance stays guardedly shut. In the meantime, everyone is looking at everyone (looking at them) with remarkable candor; the looks bear admiration and covetousness by turns. I am grateful I packed all nine pairs of shoes.

Copyright 2005 Jens Haas -

At the Australian launch party in the evening, on the island of San Servolo, we have the good fortune of rich conversation: an Australian expatriated to the Boston Globe and this year’s Pulitzer short-list; a literary scholar and long supporter of emerging artists, including this years Australian representative of the Biennale, Shaun Gladwell. We talk about the scholar’s art-collection (from which the Australian National Gallery has recently curated a show), and his ambivalence about the art-world. We meet our friend, a curator with the Australian Pavilion, who is best dressed and all champagne.