Monday, July 15, 2019

Museo di Palazzo Grimani: Helen Frankenthaler – Domus Grimani – Sandro Kopp

Museo di Palazzo Grimani
Pittura/Panorama - Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler – 1952-1992

At Palazzo Grimani, until November 17, the exhibition Pittura/Panorma Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler – 1952-1992, is organized by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and Venetian Heritage, in association with Gagosian and curated by John Elderfield.  The exhibition focuses on the relationship in Frankenthaler’s development of the pittura and the panorama: the interplay of works like easel paintings, although made on the floor, and large, horizontal paintings that open onto shallow but expansive spaces, in the way that panoramas do. 

Helen Frankenthaler - For E.M. - 1981

Photograph - Ernst Haas/Masters/Getty Images – Courtesy Hellen Frankenthaler Foundation

Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011), career spanned six decades, she has long been recognized as one of the great American artists of the twentieth century and was eminent among the second generation of postwar American abstract painters.  Frankenthaler is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting. Through her invention of the soak-stain technique, she expanded the possibilities of abstract painting, while at times referencing figuration and landscape in unique ways. She produced a body of work whose impact on contemporary art has been profound and continues to grow.

Helen Frankenthaler
in her studio at East 83rd Street and Third Avenue - New York - 1969

 Helen Frankenthaler – Riverhead - 1963

John Elderfield - curator
Helen Frankenthaler – Maelstrom - 1992
 Photograph - by Rob McKeever copyright - 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. courtesy Gagosian

Helen Frankenthaler – Overture - 1992
acrylic on canvas - 177.8 x 238.8 cm

  Copyright - Reg Lancaster/Hulton Archive/Getty Images – courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

This exhibition at Palazzo Grimani is the first presentation of Helen Frankenthaler’s work in Venice since its appearance in 1966 at the American Pavilion of the 33rd Venice Biennale. Covering a forty-year span of Frankenthaler’s career from the early 1950s to her richly atmospheric canvases of the early 1990s, it features fourteen panoramic paintings, all from the collection of the Foundation.

Helen Frankenthaler – center - clockwise from bottom left - Lady Dufferin and Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 5th Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, Jules Olitski, gondolier, Anthony Caro, John Kasmin, and Richard Smith
Venice – Italy - 1966.

American Art in the 1960s - documentary still – 1972
Director - Michael Blackwood

  Photograph -Matteo De Fina - Courtesy Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Polo Museale del Veneto

Museo di Palazzo Grimani
Domus Grimani – 1594-2019

At Palazzo Grimani, until May 2021, the exhibition Domus Grimani 1594-2019 is curated by Daniela Ferrara, director of the Polo Museale del Veneto and Toto Bergamo Rossi, director of Venetian Heritage. This exceptional exhibition celebrates the return to Palazzo Grimani of the collection of classical statuary that once belonged to the Patriarch of Aquileia, Giovanni Grimani, and was housed in the family palazzo until the end of the sixteenth century, when the Patriarch donated it to the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia on his death, this collection now returns home after more than four centuries.

Photograph -Matteo De Fina - Courtesy Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Polo Museale del Veneto

Domus Grimani – 1594-2019

The Tribuna, an actual chamber of antiquities, is the inner sanctum where Giovanni Grimani received his most illustrious guests. Visitors to the exhibition will see the Tribuna as it was in Giovanni’s day, thanks to the installation of two temporary architectural niches. The collection of statuary left Palazzo Grimani in 1594 after Giovanni passed away, he had chosen to donate his priceless collection to the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, therefore the statues were transferred to the entrance hall of the reading room in the Biblioteca Marciana, which was later renamed Statuario della Repubblica. Over the next two years, the entrance hall is under-going extensive restoration, as a result of which all the statues had to be removed. Hence the opportunity to organize Domus Grimani 1594 – 2019, bringing the Grimani Collection back to its original setting in the family palazzo.

Domus Grimani – 1594-2019
The Tribuna

  Photograph -Matteo De Fina - Courtesy Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Polo Museale del Veneto

Domus Grimani – 1594-2019

Museo di Palazzo Grimani
Sandro Kopp – Meyecelium – New Paintings

Meyecelium, until October 10, is an exhibition of new work by Sandro Kopp. Each painting is a portrait of a single eye of one of the artist’s friends and family, painted from life over the course of the past two-and-half years, surrounded with precious metals - gold, silver, platinum - that further ennoble the paintings and establish a relationship with image-making traditions from ancient Egypt, to Byzantine icons, to the golden mosaics of Torcello and San Marco

Museo di Palazzo Grimani
Sandro Kopp – Meyecelium – New Paintings


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Sunday, July 07, 2019

Venice – Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore: Not Only Biennale – Sean Scully – Human

Not Only Biennale
Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore - Sean Scully – Human

"I want to make available the journey from the spiritual to the physical, and from the physical to the spiritual."
Sean Scully

The Human exhibition, until October 13, curated by Javier Molins, brings together the powerful vision of the acclaimed contemporary artist Sean Scully and the majesty of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by the legendary 16th- century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio. Conceived especially for this presentation throughout the Abbey, it is devoted to the fundamental tension between our heart’s striving in a world of beauty and struggle and our soul’s yearning for eternal transcendence.

Opulent Ascension

Sean Scully - Opulent Ascension
Inspired by the biblical story of Jacob’s Ladder, which established a conduit between the world we inhabit and the one that lies beyond, Scully’s soaring sculpture rises over ten metres under the Basilica’s dome. Comprised of stacked frames wrapped in felt of rich and varied colours, "Opulent Ascension" directs one’s gaze heavenwards through the oculus of the cupola.

Sean Scully - Landline Gold – 2019
Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore - Angel
that crowned the top of the bell tower

The exhibition features forty new and recent paintings, sculptures, works on paper and stained-glass windows, it takes visitors on an intimate journey through the various artistic fields that Scully has mastered since the early 1970s. Scully’s unique, innovative vocabulary of horizontal and vertical stripes, for which he is internationally renowned, which has now embraced figurative composition, is on rich display throughout. 

Derived from the verb "sacren", meaning "to make holy", the Sacristy is the space where sacred services are prepared and in which hallowed objects are kept. Correspondingly, this room is devoted to drawings that capture Scully’s initial artistic impulses – the raw inklings from which his works are made. 

Sean Scully - works on paper
In these more intimate pieces, the finesse and precision of the artist as a draughtsman and craftsman is in full evidence. These drawings reveal just how much meditation, ingenuity, and passion goes into creating the larger-scale paintings and sculptures for which Scully is best known.

  Sean Scully - Illuminated Manuscript

Coro Maggiore
Sean Scully - Illuminated Manuscript - 2018–2019
Echoing the mystery and charm of medieval illuminated manuscripts, which weave into a single book the beauty of exalted words and imagery, Sean Scully has created a lustrous volume that chronicles the making of his works for this exhibition. A repository of both verbal and visual meditations, this remarkable resurrection of a bygone medium captures the artist’s eloquence as both a writer and as an image-maker. The combination of language and drawing creates an extraordinary music of the mind.

Officina – Manica Lunga
Sean Scully – Landline series
The eight oil-on-aluminium paintings from Scully’s acclaimed – Landline - series in the Manica Lunga - Long Gallery - offer visitors evocatively lyrical landscapes for contemplation. The intense horizontal bands suggest not only a map of exterior landscapes that our bodies inhabit in the physical world, but an undiscovered spiritual realm within us. In seemingly simple arrangements of stacked strata, which vary in number from six to seven bars, the – Landlines - echo the endless compression of existential layers – physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual – that comprise us.

Officina – Manica Lunga
Sean Scully – Landline series

Sean Scully - Two Windows - 2019

Sean Scully - Sleeper Stack – 2019

“The rhythmic objectiveness of these deeply committed works,” wrote Scully in 1998 of van Gogh’s oeuvre, “is what impressed me so.  I took this idea to an extreme, so that in an abstract painting everything was something, in a sense that it had the force of an object.”

Sean Scully – Arles Abend Vincent 2 – 2015

Pastel Room
Sean Scully – Kind of Red - 2014
 Works on paper
These soft-focused siblings of Scully’s core themes and passions, for example a work commemorating the cultural and philosophical legacies of ancient Greece – “Doric” - or a five-part tribute to the music of Miles Davis.

“My work is an attempt to release the spirit.”

Sean Scully – Madonna Triptych
one of three
Having abandoned figuration five decades ago, Scully returns to the style with three portraits from a new series, titled Madonna they are based on photographs taken of his wife and son on the island of Eleuthera.

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Monday, July 01, 2019

Venice: Not only Biennale – V-A-C Foundation – Time Forward!

Not Only Biennale

V-A-C Foundation – Time Forward!

When our lives are deluged with images, tweets, real and fake information, can we embrace tools or positions of resistance that will help us improve our living conditions?

At the V-A-C- Foundation on the Zattere, the exhibition, Time, Forward!, until October 20, is a project by Omar Kholeif and Maria Kramar that seeks to question the notion and function of time and how it relates to new forms of consciousness, action and sight in the twenty-first century. The V-A-C Foundation commissioned 13 new works by emerging and internationally acclaimed artists, they were asked to imagine and suggest strategies to cope with accelerated digital time. The new large-scale installation, film and performance works, seek, in fact, to question the notion and function of time and how it relates to new forms of consciousness, action and sight in the twenty-first century.

Walid Raad - Forward to the Arabic - 2019

 Walid Raad’s work Forward to the Arabic, explores contemporary narratives and how artists envisage future institutions in this first and second edition of an ongoing project looking at the interrelations between conflict, culture and history.


I learn to move on the back of an attitude,
Returning to the domain constructed
of coincidences.”

The authors ask, “What forms of communication in our contemporary world of technology-induced contact can be imagined as different, non-alien?  What kind of imagination is required for such contact?” This work is considered an unannounced performance – its energy lies in the phenomenal essence of contact. Four wells inside the space house shards of glass; their inner walls are covered with two-line poems created by Eugenia Suslova.

Alexandra Sukhareva – with participation – Eugenia Suslova
– 2018-2019 – unannounced performance

  Where Dogs Run - Zero City - 2019

Russian collective Where Dogs Run have created a contemporary metaphor for consciousness in the 21st century in their installation Zero City, whereby visitors enter into and their presence activates a cityscape model containing elevator shafts of different dimensions, moving through a metropolis governed by programmed, apparently anonymous algorithms.

Adam Linder – She Clockwork – 2019
performance – costume objects – wallpaper – with HIT

In Adam Linder’s new environment and performance piece She Clockwork, Juan Pablo Camara’s performance is activated by a costume: a pair of silicone gauntlets and boots are the starting point for his exploration into embodying space and time. 

Trevor Paglan – From Apples to kleptomaniac – Pictures and Words – 2019

 Trevor Paglan room is plastered in photographs - From Apple to Kleptomaniac, Pictures and Words - maps out the darker side to machine learning techniques by studying how the website ImageNet, one of the most widely shared free image databases containing thousands of categorised images is used to train AI networks, is imbued with judgement.


What lies beneath our graves? The question that arises from beneath these human and non-human burial sites encourage us to consider the great acceleration of time, of events and actions that shape the world faster than we can keep up.

Joana Hadjithomas - Khalil Joreige – What we Leave Behind – 2019
from the Unconformities project

Taking its inspiration from the sarcophagus of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which continues to limit the radioactive contamination of the environment following the 1986 disaster and contains radioactive isotopes that are expected to be active for another million years.

What does this environment reveal of our collective future, a universe where science has accelerated beyond our wildest imagination?

Haroon Mirza – Beyond the wave Epoch – 2019

Mirza’s installation was developed during a residency at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, which is home to the Large Hadron Collider: the world’s most powerful particle collider, which also happens to be the largest machine on earth. Through this work the artist encourages us to imagine a situation in 2,000 years from now in which the Large Hadron Collider has been rediscovered as an archaeological site.

Participating Artists

Rosa Barba, Aleksandra Domanovicc, Valentin Fetisov, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Daria Irincheeva, Alexandra Sukhareva, Christopher Kulendran Thomas with Annika Kuhlmann, Adam Linder, Haroon Mirza, Trevor Paglen, Walid Raad, James Richards, Kirill Savchenkov, Where Dogs Run.

Time Forward!  - Public Programme

The public programme is curated by Giulia Morucchio and Joel Valabrega with Varvara Ganicheva and Alexandra Khazina, it is conceived as a paradoxical reversal of the title. For this reason, it is structured as a series of invitations to stop and find balance in personal and collective narratives, and in everyday life, where time is often controlled by automated algorithms.

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