private fish painting in sottoportego

My Own Private Biennale

private fish painting in sottoportegoI’d heard or read somewhere that, perhaps inspired by the arrival of the Biennale, temporary paintings had begun springing up around town, created on paper canvas applied to walls, washing away easily with the rain. I hadn’t run into any though, until one appeared on my doorstep — literally.

Whoever painted this big, red, spotted fish was quite furbo, applying this canvas underneath the sottoportego so that it would remain protected and thus last longer. The paper has shredded and dissolved a bit at the bottom as motor boat waves at high tide slosh the lagoon water over the border, but if you ask me that just contributes to the overall effect that this fish monster is surging right up from the rio. Red spots sling off the fish’s nose onto the canvas above him. I think it’s divine.

I’m greeted by this ichthyic apparition every time I leave the house. È fantastico, and one of those unexpected things, the fact of which makes you become even more attached to this absurd city. And that this clever artist chose my sottoportego? What a coup…


UPDATE: Yvonne from Australia pointed out that this is the work of the same Papiers Peintres that create the papery frames around town (there’s one along the fondamente San Felice and another down from the Madonna dell’Orto). If you stand in the middle, have someone snap your photo, then send it to them — the address is on the frame — they’ll post it on their site. Explore their site, there are images, youtube videos, and more.

5 thoughts on “My Own Private Biennale

  1. Abram Welsh

    I am so pleased that new and exciting things are happening there. I envy you your address; to live in Venice, for all that is going wrong at the moment, must be a most emotionally satisfying thing. Maybe the graffiti vandals will learn something from your secret artist. Thank you for your pieces.

  2. Murissa Maurice

    What an amazing work! I love how the impermanence is constantly changing this work, ex. the green algae seeping into the paper and eroding away the fish and forever becoming apart of the canals. Glad you recorded and shared this work!

    Abram – I recommend you watch the documentary called “Bomb It!” It shows the difference between artists and vandals along with the various uses of graffiti. Amazing work being done on the streets of Brazil and France!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  3. Living Venice Post author

    I’d seen Papiers Peintres papery frames around the area (there’s one along the fondamente San Felice and another down from the Madonna dell’Orto). If you stand in the middle, have someone snap your photo, then send it to them, they’ll post it on their site. Charming!

    I didn’t recognize the ELLA PITR sig on the fish — thanks so much for bringing them to light. 🙂

  4. Steven

    What a marvelous work–and photo and post! I love seeing art outside of a gallery or exhibition space that really does make its surroundings, and its viewer’s everyday experience, better. And I agree with the previous commenter on the beauty of its impermanence.


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