Venice is most definitely in peril. Just look at where the water is now. In many places it is at—or above—the line where the water-resistant stone bases of the buildings join with the porous brickwork. This has never been the case in previous centuries. This is why those who say that Venice will go on surviving because it has already survived so long are tragically mistaken. The charity Venice in Peril has been working for over 40 years to protect Venice from decay, to make reliable information known about the threats to the city, whether from the water, tourism, or over-exploitation, and to lobby for its protection.
Venice in Peril, in collaboration with Ivorypress and generous backers, launched a major art initiative to raise funds for Venice. Fourteen photographers were commissioned to visit the city and make a portfolio of images with absolute freedom. They all donated an edition of their portfolios to Venice in Peril. Making a selection of these images, the Ivorypress Team, led by Elena Foster, curated the exhibition Real Venice, and produced a publication with the same title, as part of the C Photo Project. After the exhibition closed on 30 September 2011, the photographs travelled to London, where they were exhibited and then auctioned with the help of Phillips de Pury on 3 November 2011. All proceeds went to Venice in Peril.
The exhibited artists were: Lynne Cohen, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Antonio Girbés, Nan Goldin, Pierre Gonnord, Dionisio González, Candida Höfer, Tiina Itkonen, Mimmo Jodice, Tim Parchikov, Matthias Schaller, Jules Spinatsch, Hiroshi Watanabe and Robert Walker.
The exhibition also travelled the world. The tour was organised by the International Enterprises department of the Barbican Centre in London.
The aim of this exhibition was to encourage the making of good art about Venice, but Venice in Peril would only consider the exhibition a real success if visitors also took away with them the message that, without good science, wise decision-making and a long term, well planned budget (the last two are conspicuously lacking), Venice has no future. Real Venice is a necessary initiative that harnesses the creativity, the vigour, the internationalism—and the financial power—of contemporary art in order to save Venice, an ancient, exquisite city where art has always been of the essence.
The Real Venice exhibition was shown during the 54th Venice Bienale at San Giorgio Maggiore Abey and later in the Somerset House in London, from 31 May to 30 September and from 10 October to 11 December 2011 respectively.
For further information about the exhibition, click www.realvenice.org