A head of this year's Venice Biennale, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, shares his list of the must-see shows and destinations you should visit during your stay.
1. Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art Bookshop
Calle de le Boteghe, San Marco 3126, 30124 Venice, Tel. 347 1828553
One of the great experiences in Venice is to spend an hour in this bookshop. It’s always the first thing I do. On first glance it's tiny but the more time you spend in it the more amazing discoveries you make. The owner is a great source of information about artists and artist books.
2. Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable
Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana, Campo San Samuele, 3231, 30124 Venice
Damien's exhibition is a total work of art about lost and found treasures. It's the first time an artist has taken over both the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana and it's absolutely not to be missed.
3. Lucy McKenzie: La Kermesse Héroïque
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa — Palazzetto Tito, Dorsoduro, 2826, 30123 Venice
Lucy is a fascinating artist from Scotland who lives in Brussels and has founded her own label, Atelier E.B. (Edinburgh Brussels) Her new series of paintings blur the boundaries between art and craft, and this is her first exhibition in Venice, in collaboration with Beca Lipscombe.
4. John Latham: Viva Arte Viva
Giardini and Arsenale, Sestiere Castello, 30122 Venice
John was a pioneering English artist and is the subject of a retrospective called A World View: John Latham at the Serpentine at the moment. This show focuses particularly on his book works and the spheres he created from them. He's one of the central artists in the Christine Macel's biennale so we can look forward to seeing his work both in Venice and London.
5. Ettore Sottsass: The Glass
Le Stanze Del Vetro, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, 1, 30124 Venice
Sottsass was one of the leading Italian designers. This show, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, features a series of works that were originally commissioned for a major project in Doha that was never realised. It's the first time they’ve been seen in an exhibition.
6. Alighiero Boetti: Minimum/Maximum
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, 30100 Venice
Boetti often used a photocopy machine in his work and this is a retrospective of all of the pieces he ever created using that format. He once had a photocopier delivered to his house and one day he wanted to photocopy the rain so he moved it outside. Of course that was the end of the photocopier.
7. British Diaspora Pavilion
Palazzo Pisani a Santa Marina, Cannaregio 6103-6104, 30100 Venice
The Diaspora Pavilion showcases the work of 11 emerging UK-based artists, all from culturally diverse backgrounds, with ten leading artists from similar backgrounds acting as their mentors.
8. Dayanita Singh: A Brief Biography by Herself
Residenze Artistiche e Letterarie a Venezia, Waterlines Project, Dorsoduro 3488, 30123 Venice
This show covers voluntary and involuntary migration which is a big topic of our time. It shows people belonging less to a geography than being between geographies which is true of course for so many artists.
MAIN IMAGE: INSTALLATION VIEW OF ETTORE SOTTSASS: THE GLASS AT LE STANZE DEL VETRO. PHOTO: ENRICO FIORESE.