[You can also find this on the BBC News website, of course]
The 53rd Venice Art Biennale has just opened, a massive exhibition of contemporary art from around the world that takes over large parts of the city every two years from June to November and turns it into a showcase for the new, the experimental, the exciting and the just plain weird.
And I do mean weird.
There’s a semi-submerged Russian submarine in the Grand Canal, an Icelandic artist is going to spend the next six months painting a series of bad portraits of a cigarette-smoking model, and a group of Nordic artists are exhibiting a very life-like corpse floating face-down in a swimming pool while a group of naked men sit on deckchairs nearby.
Seventy-seven countries are taking part, many of them exhibiting their work in purpose built pavilions in the public gardens of the Giardini while others can be found in the former shipyard of the Arsenale or scattered across palaces and warehouses throughout the city.
As well as the national pavilions there are forty-four associated exhibitions and events, and nearly one hundred individual artists have been invited to show work in the central ‘Making Worlds’ exhibition.