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“The Lion“

After months of palpable anticipation, the momentous day has finally arrived: Saturday April 20th, Nil was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion for her lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale. Although I couldn’t be in Venice to attend the opening days and the award ceremony, I followed the events from Paris, enthralled by every moment, through the screen of my phone and numerous Instagram posts and stories. My initial disappointment (and my miserable FOMO) dissipated upon learning that I would be traveling to Venice in June - a delightful trip, accompanied by my parents and my beloved. Thus, it is under the (very) warm rays of the sun and the summer breezes that I will have the chance to see Nil’s installation at the Central Pavilion, a captivating artistic composition showcasing two of her most iconic works: Topak Ev and Exile is a hard job. During one of our early encounters, Nil had unveiled to me, while cautioning me not to reveal anything, the planned arrangement of the installation. Even at the mere sight of the 3D mock-up she was gladly showing me on her computer screen, I found myself somewhat moved. And I will be even more when setting foot in the Central Pavilion in a few weeks.

Image 1: Nil’s installation in the Central Pavilion, photography taken by Nil

The Wednesday before, I sent Nil a brief text, wishing her a most pleasant stay in Venice. Knowing Nil and her penchant for relishing every moment of life, I have no doubt that she thoroughly enjoyed her Venetian adventures (as much as she did when in Geneva, sipping on the best wines and enjoying the finest foods there were!). I eagerly await the moment when we can once again exchange thoughts on her adventures. I am certain she will have plenty of anecdotes to share with me, as she loves to chat and laugh about the crazy, if not goofy moments and people of the art world – or is it perhaps just me?  However, it seems like the pedestrian life in Venice, punctuated by many journeys on the vaporetto, may have somewhat wearied Nil, at least judging by the tone of her reply to my message. “Venice is no longer of my age“ she answered. There is, of course, no age for Venice, as much as Nil, despite her age, is more energetic than many people ten years her junior. It remains the magical city it always has been and will be, but I understand how such events, when the entire art world gathers in one place to discuss, eat, drink, party, gossip, contemplate, criticize, write, dream, and stroll, can be dizzying.

Image 2: Our last exchange

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