On Thursday 2 June Grainne Sweeney wrote:
The vernissage, preview, opening... was a thrill.
It was very busy, visitors from all over, curators, critics, commissioners and most importantly artists. Everyone seemed pleased and the response has been very positive.
I met Luigi Ontani who came, what an honour. I introduced him to Rose.
First stop today: the gallery, Alan Sykes was there with Andrew Dixon and Amanda Scott (Creative Scotland) who talked to Rose and was fascinated by her work.
Went to meet Alison Clark Jenkins (Director of Arts Council England, North East) from the Alilaguna at S.Angelo at 1pm. Alison was here for 24hrs - the best you can hope for in that time is to get a real flavour of the atmosphere and the scale of the Biennale.
First stop - the gallery and Interloqui. As we were going in Matthew Collings was coming out. He congratulated me on the exhibition. Coffee and a good meeting with Caterina. Then a walk through to St Mark's Square and on to the Giardini. Very busy today as it's a public holiday.
I walked Alison past the Mike Nelson queue and bumped into Rashida (Globe Gallery). She gave it a good review. A very quick tour around the Christian Boltanski and then lunch with Locus + and Rashida - a whiz around the Giardini's central pavilion (I love this space, there's always something to discover in the exhibition, the first encounter is the Tintorettos) - on to the Arsenale - through the Arsenale - Raja and Shadia Alem was a wow - good to see Haroon Mirza, recent winner of the Northern Art Prize - James Turrell which unfortunately was being fixed - ...by this time it was 5.45 - a walk to the preview of the Irish Pavilion and Corban Walker.
Bumped into Godfrey (Baltic) there, Gavin Delahunty who's now with Tate Liverpool (used to be at mima), and Alan Sykes (who's getting everywhere). Rose and Martha came, Rose had a good chat with Godfrey. Finally dinner nearby with Rose, Martha and Alison, great conversation, food and prosecco. After this much welcomed sit down, on to the British Council party with Wales and Scotland. Very busy, Sergio was there, Rachel French and James (mima), Sarah and I bumped into Sara Black who I met on my trip to Cairo a couple of years ago. Vaporetto home at 12.
Alison was up and away before 9.