We packed a throwaway camera in art critic Sam Steverlynck’s Venice-bound luggage and got him to document his few days running around the enchanted city. This, people, is how it all looked like.

Read our selection of Belgian instagram accounts to follow for a first-hand account of The Venice Biennial and others. 

Although La Grande Dame of art biennials might be seen as a tad dated, holding on to its system of national representation, it is still the most important – and elegant – art event in the world, attracting art lovers, flying in by charter or coming with their private mega-yacht, on a frantic chase for art and parties – not necessarily in that order.  During the day, exhibits are to be discovered in palazzo’s in tiny dead end streets – and sometimes you even manage to find them! – at night, you are being driven around in water taxi’s to attend parties thrown by oligarchs and – at first sight – less shady organisations like galleries, institutions or countries. And, true to form, Belgium could not lack in this global art circus, with five (five!) Belgian or Belgium-based artists in the main show, a beautiful and critically acclaimed Belgian pavilion – that in no time became the talk of the town –, both the Iraqi and Ukraïnian pavilion curated by Belgians (that is S.M.A.K. director Philippe Van Cauteren and Björn Geldhoff from the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev), the exquisite Palazzo Fortuny, a must- see Venice classic by now, hosted by antique/ art dealer Axel Vervoordt, but also smaller projects, like a show by the Flemish Community with a lovely chalk drawing by Rinus van de Velde and Walter Vanhaerents’ 70th birthday bash in the shape of an exhibition with works from his collection.

Video artist Sven Augustijnen on a vaporetto with his luggage for the week

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Belgian- Cuban artist Ricardo Brey, one of the five Belgians on “All the World’s Futures’, the main biennale show

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Belgian artist Mekhitar Garabedian

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Reading of Marc Twain’s “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” in front of a “ghost stop” on Brussels 44 Tram route by Elisabetta Benassi at the Belgian pavilion

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The Belgian Pavilion, the first foreign pavilion in the Giardini

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Novelist and HISK- director Oscar van den Boogaard

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French- Cameron artist Barthélémy Toguo, who is also in the main exhibition

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Adam Pendleton at the Belgian Pavilion

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Maryam Jafri at the Belgian Pavilion

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 James Beckett at the Belgian Pavilion

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Curator Katerina Gregos and artist Vincent Meessen in front of their Belgian pavilion

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Belgian artist Renato Nicolodi, one of the artists in “Proportio” in Palazzo Fortuny

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Dutch, Brussels based artist Aukje Koks with Dutch galerist Ron Mandos and Renato Nicolodi

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Belgian artist Rinus Van de Velde

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Press conference at the Ukraïnian Pavilion, next to some big shot’s yacht

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Collector Walter Vanhaerents in front of one of his Cindy Shermans

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Mekhitar Garabedian’s neon at the Armenian Pavilion, rewarded with the price for best national pavilion

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