Once Upon a Time in Venice (Un Tempo Una Volta)

Once Upon a Time in Venice (Un Tempo Una Volta) is an evocative artwork by Terry Flaxton created to draw the viewer into a deeper appreciation of the Venice that exists behind the scenes and offers a magical journey from the tangible to the mystical. This Venetian phrase, when translated into English, is emblematic of the classic opening to many fairy tales and sets the stage for an exploration that deepens the conventional Venetian experience. Through a masterful avoidance of the obvious—eschewing water imagery—Flaxton employs reflection and refraction to gradually transition from clear to kaleidoscopic visions of Venice, pushing the boundaries between reality and fantasy. The piece begins with a journey beneath Venice's bridges, where colored silk cascades over the camera lens, creating brief veils into another realm. This artwork is not just an exploration of Venice as a physical space but a deeper dive into what Venice symbolizes, attempting to thin the veil between the real and the imaginary. Flaxton challenges the viewer to look beyond the scenic to discover Venice’s essence, making Once Upon a Time in Venice a unique reinterpretation of the city, untouched by the waters that define it.

This piece is part of three works released by Terry Flaxton to celebrate the Venice Biennale 2024. Each work, including Once Upon a Time in Venice (Un Tempo Una Volta) and Hearts of Oak, will be showcased at various locations in Venice during the Biennale. Once Upon a Time in Venice invites you to explore the unseen and unsaid with its unique take on the City of Water.

Soundtrack from a piece by Alan Lethbridge, rearranged by Terry Flaxton.

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