Life and death in Venice

by Lica Cecato 18 APRIL 2021


Lica Cecato is a Brazilian musician and visual artist. She lives between Rio, Venice and Tokyo. Everywhere, for a year, she has seen the world enter this strange darkness. She tells her story in text and images.


I enjoy walking sometimes in the dark, sometimes in the light. Some streets are so narrow that it becomes impossible. I give up and start thinking of these alleys (calle) as tunnels because many of them stop at a dead end, right on a canal. The city was built for those who own a boat. We walk on the water, a kind of miracle.


I walk every day through the empty streets of Venice, a city I have been visiting and loving for four decades. I made a series of photos on Fabriano paper for the exhibition Reflections (Reflexos e Reflexões) in Rio de Janeiro, at the Martha Pagy Escritório de Arte. It opened on March 10, 2020 ... a week before the first lockdown. These images showed only reflections on the waters of Venice, with their mysteries and effects, no people were included. In retrospect, I see it as a kind of premonition. There was only the fascinating beauty of this aquatic city, emptied of its population. A reflection in water does not have the warmth of the human body, it is a mobile sculpture that is always changing, disappearing and being reborn every second, an evanescence that is a great gift for those who live here.


I experienced the pandemic in three very different countries, Japan, Italy and Brazil. But Venice has reacted to the situation in a unique way. It has become a novel without characters, a painting deserted by life, a work that has gone in the wrong direction. There is no key to get out of this trap, no words. Only the images perhaps….

Move the chair, turn the table, sit on the sofa, tidy the cupboards, look out of the window, and from the window see other windows. Cooking, washing, playing the guitar, drawing a picture, watching a film, writing, turning on the television, getting up, cleaning, listening to music, taking out the rubbish. Falling in love with someone you will never meet in real life, or at least not until the pandemic is over. Escapes.


In every airport I passed through, the same scenes of the end of the world, closed shops, endless corridors, silent and deserted. The silence has engulfed everything. The carnival that doesn't arrive, our reclusive Easter, our undoubtedly wasted summer. The angels disappear amidst the stones, the doors close, a foreigner gets lost, a seagull passes in the sky, and at the same time our will, our tastes, our desires evaporate. The blood of the newspapers goes to stain the moon. No one wants to suffer. There is probably a place where we can sleep, dream or be restless, but it is not here and not now.


Contagion in the holds of ships, rivers, planes. We carry death. Here, another table and two wooden chairs. The stones tell stories that go back thousands of years, the wood tells the story of those old people who, only yesterday, used to get together to play cards, tell jokes, drink a glass of wine. The store windows of the world are empty.

The world has stopped in a pool of blood.


English text review Eric Henry

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