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With the Federal Councillor at the Maturfestli

Juan Zen

From mid-February, I spent two months in Venice at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi doing research on the local art book scene. The closer the opening of the Biennale came, the bigger the crowd of tourists became, trying to attract attention with their outlandish clothes and flashy sunglasses. My highlight was the opening party organised by Switzerland, Holland and Luxembourg. The party took place in the only triple gymnasium on the island and reminded me of school graduation partie in the country. There was good music with bad sound, free drinks and tramezzini stuffed with tuna. Unlike (or just like back then) at the graduation halls, everyone who was anyone danced here. I recognised the Swiss because I knew them. The Luxembourgers weren't there, at least not in person. I had met the Italians, who were performing in the Luxembourg pavilion, in advance and recognised them by the fact that they were coked up and in a very good mood. I also recognised the Dutch. They were taller than the Swiss and the Italo-Luxembourgers.

I met a Dutchman on the dance floor, not because he was tall, but because I had met him two days earlier at a symposium on artists' books organised by a rich woman from Geneva. I struck up a conversation with him because he had a book with him in which he had illustrated over three hundred scans of footballers that he had collected in football magazines since 1990. I found it fascinating and he told me lots of stories about anecdotes attributed to footballers. For example, that Maradona had not wanted to consume so much coke, alcohol and prostitutes, he had been forced to do so by the mafia.

Funnily enough, the woman from Geneva who organised the conference did so at the place where I was allowed to stay for two months.
The view was spectacular and the rooms were spacious and prestigious.I had to move out because of the conference and stayed with Paolo for three nights.I shared the flat with eleven others, who bravely talked each other through the advantages of a temporary flat share. For example, that they hadn't lived in a shared flat for a long time or that they could now discuss the Biennale together.

The rich woman from Geneva also had a slightly chubby 17-year-old assistant with her, who took great care of her two dogs, a dachshund and a slightly larger white-brown dog.
I don't know the breed, I only know Dalmatians, Bernese hounds and wild dogs. In any case, the assistant dog carer looked after the dogs in the Giardini, while the boss looked at the country pavilions, because dogs were not allowed there.

But back to the Dutchman on the dance floor.
We were sipping our gin and tonics and wondering whether we should have a Special Biennale drink, which was made with gin and raspberry juice and the sweetness would certainly have gone well after the bitter gin and tonic, when suddenly Federal Councillor Baume-Schneider-Amman danced through in front of me. Behind her was a security assistant who acted as if he also enjoyed dancing, but looked as if he'd had too much to drink at the graduation party and had thrown up and forgotten how to relax afterwards. In any case, I didn't say anything to my Dutch dance floor companion for the time being. I secretly watched Baume-Schneider's dancing body and had to laugh to myself because her movements were more like a poplar in the wind than a baile funk dancer.Baile Funk was on because Guerrero do Divino Amor, the Swiss representative at the 50th Venice Biennale, comes from Brazil and had brought his friends along as DJs. Then the Dutchman asked me if I felt like I knew everyone who was coming from Switzerland, because he felt like he knew everyone who had come to the party from Holland. I said yes and tried to tell him the location of the dancing poplar a few metres ahead. He was amazed when I told him that it was the Swiss Minister of Culture.We watched the Baume bodyguard in his suit for a few more minutes, went to the bar and ordered some white wine.Irene had told me shortly beforehand that if you don't know exactly what you want to drink, white wine is always good because it wakes you up.

One of the djs at the party

Once I was awake again and had drunk my coffee, I made my way towards Fondazione Prada. I like Prada because I once bought four Prada suits for 200 francs in a second-hand shop on Güterstrasse in Basel, which fitted me like a glove. When I told the shop assistant that I was taking all four suits, she first had to make a phone call to ask if it was okay.Of course, I wonder who she had to ask. Probably Miuccia Prada.So I went in the direction of the Fondazione Prada on the Grand Canal and I have to admit that I walked past the entrance.By mistake, because the sign around the entrance read "Compro Oro Diamanti Argento Brillante Orologi".Of course, I didn't want to sell watches or gold bars, but to see the exhibition.But the woman in the black "I don't care about anything" Prada look told me that this was the entrance to the exhibition and once I was inside, I immediately realised who the woman in the Brockenhaus on Güterstrasse in Basel had called: Christoph Büchel.

The entrance of Fondzione Prada

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