Sunday, August 04, 2019

Venice: Not Only Biennale - Ca Corner della Regina – Fondazione Prada – Jannis Kounellis

Ca Corner della Regina – Fondazione Prada
Jannis Kounellis

 At the Fondazione Prada, until November 24, Jannis Kounellis, curated by Germano Celant, is the major retrospective dedicated to the artist following his death in 2017. Developed in collaboration with Archivio Kounellis, the project brings together more 60 works from 1959 to 2015. The show explores the artistic and exhibition history of Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus 1936 – Rome 2017), establishing a dialogue between his works and the eighteenth-century spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina. Kounellis participated in exhibitions that paved the way to Arte Povera, which in turn translated into an authentic form of visual expression. An approach that recalls ancient culture, interpreted according to a contemporary spirit, in contrast with the loss of historical and social identity that took place during the postwar period.

Senza Titolo – coat, hats shoes – 2011

Germano Celant
The artist’s early works, originally exhibited between 1960 and 1966, deal with urban language. These paintings reproduce actual writings and signs from the streets of Rome. Later on, the artist transferred black letters, arrows and numbers onto white canvases, paper or other surfaces, in a language deconstruction that expresses a fragmentation of the real.

Senza Titolo – oil on canvas -1960
Senza Titolo – bottles plywood -1959

Senza Titolo – 1969

Jannis Kounellis

 Photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

Senza Titolo - iron – newspaper, wool, wood – 1987
The spectacular large-scale installations, realized in the exhibition by Kounellis from the end of the 1980s, whose ensembles envelop shelves or metal constructions containing objects of various origins: from musical instruments to sacks, from plaster casts to stones, from coats to glasses, from mechanical gears to fragments of furniture.  

Senza Titolo – iron, stones, cloth, steel, burlap, coal, wool, sewing machines, coats, marble, ceramic – 2013

Senza Titolo – Iron enamel – 1994

  Photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

The large room of the second floor hosts an intervention from 1993-2008 made up of different colored closets and forms hanging from the ceiling. Conceived for the first time for the spaces of Palazzo Belmonte Riso in Palermo, the work challenges the laws of gravity and, through the series of casually opened doors, seems to imitate the impossible perspectives of baroque painting.

Senza Titolo

Senza Titolo – lead rolls – 2004

Senza Titolo – iron shelves, bags, plaster – 1999 - detail

An investigation into the olfactory, which began in 1969 with coffee, continued through the 1980s with elements like grappa, in order to escape the illusory limits of the painting, embrace the world of the senses and join with the virtual chaos of reality.

Senza Titolo – iron, coffee – 2013

I have always been fascinated by music.  I played the violin when I was very young. I began with a one-quarter violin so I really must have been very young.  I later gave it up, but the image of the violin has always remained in my mind’s eye and I use it everywhere.”

The two works from 1980 and 2006, composed of musical instruments connected to gas cylinders and wrought iron bells, are ideally connected to two works dated 1971. In the first case, several flutists play a fragment of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St Matthew Passion, while in the second an oil painting portrays the notes of another sacred composition by Bach, this time played live by a violoncellist. With these two operations, Kounellis renews the sacred dimension of music connected to the myth of Orpheus, which attributes the ability to convert inert objects into living things to music, thus placing it in opposition to death.

Senza Titolo

These works substitute or connect the image with sound, overcoming the traditional distinctions between artistic languages. The repetition of musical fragments and the physical presence of musicians allow the artist to explore once again the corporeal dimension of the work, as well as the sharing of a conceptual and sensorial experience between the author and the viewer.

Senza Titolo

Senza Titolo – table, bells – 2006

Throughout his artistic research Kounellis develops a tragic and personal relationship with culture and history, avoiding a refined and reverential attitude. He would eventually represent the past with an incomplete collection of fragments, as in the work from 1974 made up of portions of plaster casts of classical statues laid out on a table and accompanied by a lit paraffin lamp. Meanwhile, in other works the Greco-Roman heritage is explored through the mask, as in the 1973 installation made up of a wooden frame on which plaster casts of faces are placed at regular intervals. This wooden support encloses a canvas that evokes a theatrical space in which the mask, according to Greek tradition, establishes the role and identity of the character, defining its origins and destiny.

Senza Titolo

At the height of the mutation and sublime result of combustion, according to alchemical tradition, we find gold, employed by the artist in multiple ways. In the installation Untitled - Tragedia Civile - 1975, the contrast between the gold leaf that completely covers a bare wall and the black clothing hanging on a coat hanger underlines the dramatic nature of a scene that alludes to a personal and historical crisis. It is a self-portrait of the artist, here sacrificed and therefore absent, expressing the suffering of an existential and creative condition. A division between past and present that still retains some hope of coming back together again, as the presence of the lit acetylene lamp suggests.

Senza Titolo – Tragedia Civile  
gold-leaf-coated wall, coat rack, coat, hat, gas lamp – 1975

Senza Titolo – hat, golden leaves - 1972

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Monday, July 29, 2019

Venice: Not Only Biennale – Ca’ d’Oro – Dysfunctional

Dysfunctional - rethinks the boundaries of art

Ca’ d’Oro

On the occasion of the Venice Biennale, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, in partnership with Lombard Odier Group, presents Dyfunctional, an engaging exhibition of collectible art-design, until November 24 at the Giorgio Franchetti Gallery alla Ca’d’Oro on the Canal Grande. The exhibition presents works by established and emerging artists who intend to break the thin borders between art, architecture and design. The site-specific works fuse an extraordinary technique and a lively artistic-emotional expression.

Verhoeven Twins – Shape of Water Collection

Jeroen and Joep Verhoeven

The art installation is a mystical constellation of feather-light and supple impressions of bubbles whose iridescent surfaces reflect and refract light around the room. In a sense, the work closely mirrors Venice itself, appearing so fragile, yet possessing a steadfastness that exceeds expectations.

Verhoeven Twins – Moments of Happiness – 2019

Real Time XL The Artist by Maarten Baas is a series of 12-hour films, indicating time by erasing and re-drawing the hands minute by minute, which shows Baas, as an artist in his atelier where he crafts a narrative which addresses different aspects of passing time: getting older, moving forward and looking back.

Maarten Baas – Real Time XL The Artist by Maarten Baas – 2019

“Always been about the distillation of everything I’ve ever admired and wanted to combine…”
Rick Owens
talking about his furniture

With Double Bubble, Owens continues his quest for his brutalist idyll, utilizing natural plywood as a stoic, grand gesture, that allows the Orso leather upholstering to flourish. In this way it is a confluence of art and design principles, that allows the viewer to sit comfortably, or to forget function and observe it as an artistic object. In this setting it represents yet another confluence, between history and modernity. Its harsh brutalistic lines are contrasted with the ornate intricacies of the Ca’ d’Oro.

Rick Owens – Double Bubble – 2013

Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

“It is the endemic porosity and fragility of all boundaries and the intrinsic futility, or at least the irreparably temporary nature and the incurable revocability of any border definition. All boundaries are weak, fragile and porous.”
Zygmunt Bauman

Walls are raised to protect, divide, but also to define ourselves. Through them you can generate the narration of a society, history, or interaction of people with nature and with others. And today, more than ever, it is a relevant subject. The installation immediately establishes a connection with the important artistic heritage of Ca’ d’Oro, echoing the historicity of the building and evoking the ethereal past of the Serenissima with its splendour. At the same time, it leaves the visitor in a gravitational dimension: somewhere between a monumental clash and an intimate welcome. 

Vincenzo De Cotiis - Ode – 2019

Dubourg was struck by this room in the Ca’ d’Oro in which this work sits.   It is an open room and thus does not need a door to enter or to leave.  But it is a room in which works of intense suffering are displayed – Mantegna’s Saint Sebastian and Alessandro Vittoria’s Virgin – making it impossible to escape this misery.   Thus, he has created a threshold, that leads beyond the purgatory of human suffering.   Each individual terracotta tablet is a story, an experience, just like the tablets engraved with the first writing symbols that filled the first libraries of human memory. This clay is the original material of human structures, is suffused with our heritage.   The tablets reflect the pain of the Ca’ d’Oro works they face.

Vincent Dubourg - Door of Paradise – 2019

In his latest series, Renegade, instead of performing the act of either artist or designer, Joep Van Lieshout turns any object that he gets his hands on, even his own sculpture, into lamps, making every work as valuable or invaluable as the other.

Atelier Van Lieshout – Renegade – 2019

Studio Drift’s Fragile Future uses the fragility of dandelion seeds as a strength and poses its ability to make a meaningful connection with a complete different - human – system. Bringing Fragile Future and the masterwork of Andrea Mantegna together, is to Studio Drift, the starting point of bridging the gap between the moment where we started losing the connection and the moment we start seeing it again.

Studio Drift – Fragile Future - Chandelier Venice Mantegna – 2019

Virgil Abloh’s inspiration stemmed from using the current state of reality in Venice.  Using the foundation of being an architect and an engineer, Abloh was compelled to contextualize this conceptualization into a “sinking” installation which acts as a time stamp signifying a permanent object that recalls a temporary instance of the city of Venice.

Virgil Abloh – “Alaska Alaska” Acqua Alta – 2019

Australian artist Charles Trevelyan experiments with the interaction between form and texture.  His work can echo the underlying tenets of Venetian Gothic, the style in which the Ca’ d’Oro was built.

Charles Trevelyan – Circumspect – 2015

 "This is a work of art that chooses the spectators and watches them.”

Audience is a singular piece in movement, not a mobile shifting in the wind. Random International designed Audience according to the principle that linked the spectator to technology. Audience proposes a relationship with others, it reacts to the presence of people. The encounter is truly subjective; do objects really have a soul?

 Random International – Audience – 2008

Venice has always had particular resonance in my personal history and my imagination. It is the birthplace of great painters and glassblowing, but it is also a place emblematic of modern art thanks to the influence of Peggy Guggenheim and the artists who surrounded her. More than a functional object, this piece is intended in effect as sculpture-furniture, able to contend with the Byzantine or Renaissance works that one finds just about everywhere in Venice. Its golden patina of course reflects the Ca d’Oro - the Golden Palace - while its filigreed facade was inspired by Venice’s stained-glass windows and the gilded Burano lace that was used to create Carnival masks.”

Ingrid Donat – Klimt – 2017

Studio Job’s Sinking Ship is an allergy to the current political moment in Europe. It represents the fall of old Europe, and how this reflects the recent political sentiments in the time we are living in, with all the treats and instability, the pretentiousness and manipulation of the politics.  With this work, Studio Job reminds us from our own inevitable sinking – perhaps even into the Canal Grande that the Ca’ d’Oro faces.

Studio Job – Sinking Ship – 2015

Stuart Haygarth’s Tide Colour Cahndelier is created from plastic objects collected on the British coastline. Each element is different in shape and form, yet they collate to form one perfect sphere.  The sphere evokes the shape of the moon whose force created the tide that washed these items ashore.

Stuart Haygarth – Tide Colour – 2005

Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

Nacho Carbonell’s tree-like, organic sculptures transform the monumental courtyard of 15th century mosaics into a forest of light. Their shimmering texture reference the gilt and polychrome decorations which once adorned the palazzo’s facade and their cocoon metal mesh shapes echo the quatrefoils that decorate the windows of Ca’ d’Oro (‘the golden house’). Carbonell states that he would like the public to engage with the objects as much as they can by walking through them, passing underneath, exploring them as more than a collection of individual pieces.

 Nacho Carbonell – Inside a Forest Cloud Chandelier - 113-2019

In the courtyard of Ca’d’Oro, Lamy collaborates with a series of artists to create an immersive boxing installation. Hanging from cage like construction, boxing bags act as a visual metaphor, asking the question; What Are We Fighting For?. Exploring wider cultural, spiritual and social statements, she initiates a dialogue centered upon what we, in the present moment, need to face, challenge, celebrate in our lives.

Michele Lamy – Lamyland: What Are We Fighting For? – 2019

Wendell Castle’s Above within Beyond, one of his later works, is one of sensuous physicality. Cast in bronze, a rarity in Castle’s works, this is a homage to the love held by Baron Giorgio Franchetti, and Marin Contarini before him, for exceptional works made of the finest materials.

Wendell Castle – Above within Beyond – 2014

With his series Ocean Memories, Mathieu Lehanneur offers a surrealist and materialized vision of a sea frozen in its movement.  Like freeze-frame in three dimensions, the pieces capture the subtle reliefs of waves and currents, and embody the surface of the sea. He pays homage to Venice by working in green marbles and granites whose shades echo the nearby lagoon.

Mathieu Lehanneur – Ocean Memories Acqua Alta – 2019 - detail

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