Venice: Palazzo Grassi – Voices of Images exhibiton. Voice of Images, until January 13, is the first Palazzo Grassi, François Pinault Foundation exhibition to be dedicated to the moving image in the François Pinault Collection. Curated by Caroline Bourgeois, the exhibition opened its on the occasion of the 69th Venice International Film Festival, underlining the strength of the links uniting Venice and the cinema. The exhibition brings together around 30 works, films, videos, installations, by 25 artists, in a display, which highlights the great diversity of the media, projection devices and means of appreciating space and time.
Above: Zoe Leonard – Campo San Samuele 3231, 2012 – site-specific installation, lens, darkened room. New York self-taught photographer Leonard’s transformation of the exhibition space into a camera oscura is part of her reflection on the perception of images. She calls upon an ancient viewing device that makes it possible to reproduce a precise image of the world: in a darkened room, the light penetrating from a small orifice reaches a flat surface and produces an up-side-down, inversed image of the space outside and the black room. More than merely a device used by painters throughout history, the camera oscura is here a means of questioning the border between the image and reality and of evoking the sovereign status of the spectator.
Director of Palazzo Grassi,and Punta della Dogana Martin Bethenod and curator of the exhibition Caroline Bourgeois.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Michel Francois. Michel Francois – Bureau Augmente Poject Evolutif et Intinerant, 1997-2012, video installation . Belgium sculpture and artist Michel Francois branches out into photography, video and even installations. Sculpture allows Francois to take into account the space that is never abstract. He inscribes his work in this reality that we share collectively, source of frustration but also of wonder. His Bureau Augmente testifies to this commitment. Within an environment composed of heterogeneous elements, the artist recreates an office, such as numerous companies have today, but in a highly critical manner. Different elements highlight the feeling of alienation of solitude that can invade those who must work each day within these impersonal spaces governed by demanding output requirements.
Designer Alberta Ferretti.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Peter Aerschmann. Peter Aerschmann – Eyes, 2006, video installation. Swiss artist Aerschmann Eyes is articulated around three characters: a woman wearing a burka and two hooded policemen. Although the faces of all three characters are covered, only the veiled woman looks us straight into the eyes. Their reunion in a single scene allows Aerschmann to direct the spectator’s gaze towards the motif of the dissimulation of faces in the public sphere.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Bill Viola. Bill Viola - Hall of Whispers, 1995, video and sound installation. American video artist Bill Viola’s Hall of Whispers shows ten projections in black and white of ten faces of men and women, filmed rather closely. They are gagged, their eyes are closed, and only a whisper reaches our ears. The darkness that surrounds these faces and the spectator forces the viewer out of his daily reality and plunges him in a state of uncertainty: who are these people? To what kind of spell or violence have they been submitted? What secret are they trying to reveal? A dialog is set in place, founded on unknown facts, on an ambient mystery.
Entrepreneur, Franco Zoppas.
Entrepreneur Marina Salomon.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – William Pope.L. William Pope L. - Pierce, 2004-2008, video projection. Pope L. self-proclaimed himself as “Friendliest black artist in America.” In the video Pierce, around banal images of everyday life of an upper-class white family, PopeL. has inserted other images or even drawings. Covering the eyes, mouths or faces of the protagonists, the drawings function as ‘primitive’ masks, thus evoking African culture. Literally defaced these ‘whites’ become haunted, or inhabited, by this fantastical other - the ‘black’ Afro-American.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Bruce Nauman. Bruce Nauman – For Beginners (all The Combinations of the Thumb and the Finger), 2010, HD video installation, color, stereo sound. Nauman’s work notably his videos, is crucial not only to the history of contemporary art, but also for art history seen more broadly. His work is oriented according to two axes: on the one hand, the staging, often minimal, of the body; on the other, an investigation, constantly renewed, of the philosophical and political issues at stake in art. For Beginners, the artist’s hands follow a set of verbal instructions, recited off-camera by the artist himself. Through this visual alphabet, Nauman returns to his initial training during the earliest stages of life. The volume of the soundtrack and the scale of the image immerse the spectator in a hypnotic visual grammar. Between the word and the body, we find here the key elements of Nauman’s work.
Coffee entrepreneur Paola Goppion.
Photograph courtesy Palazzo Grassi
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Abdulnasser Gharem. Abdulnasser Gharem - Siraat (The Path), 2007, video projection. Born in Saudi Arabia, Abdulnasser Gharem is both and artist and a soldier. His works can be considered as conceptual art in a politically engaged vein. The film Siraat (The Path) illustrates his work method well. The bridge shown here collapsed in 1982 after a violent storm, causing the death of several people who sought refuge under its concrete arches. The artist asked various people from the region to spray-paint the word al siraat (the way, the path) on the ruins of the bridge during four days and three nights. Homage to those eclipsed from official narratives of history, this film has the appearance of a clandestine project.
Prince Carlo Giovannelli, blogger Diane Pernet and artist soldier Abdulnasser Gharem.
Shoe designer Roberta Rossi and art restorer Toto Bergamo Rossi.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Adel Abdessemed. Adel Abdessemed – Jouer de Flute, 1996, video projection, color, sound. Abdessemed left Algeria threatened by Islamist violence and settled in France. There he produced works situated tensely between denunciation and narrative The political dimension of the images produced by him operates hand in hand with their capacity to ‘tell stories’. Jouer de Flute was created at the end of his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. It announces the characteristics of the artist’s future productions, in which a work is the translation of an action. Here he has convinced this Muslim character to disrobe in order to play an instrument that he had abandoned since his Berber childhood. To this constraint, imposed by the artist, is added the exhaustion and breathlessness resulting from the duration of the shot. Opposing all hedonism, this literal stripping-down presents itself simultaneously as a gesture of major cultural transgression and extreme fragility.
Urban anthropologist Catherine Facerias exhibiton curator Caroline Bourgeois and curator Elisabeth Lebovici.
Video Artist Anita Sieff and artist Elisabetta di Maggio.
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Peter Fischli, David Weiss. Peter Fischli, David Weiss – Hunde, 2003, DVD, color. Peter Fischli and David Weiss are one of the most famous duos in contemporary art. Trained in Switzerland they are known for their installations combining sculpture, photography and video. Their practice offers an iconic, unhinged counterpoint to today’s world and its absurdities, its codes, its banalities. This systematic deconstruction has led them to analyze very precisely certain social or esthetic ‘tics’ that contaminate our daily lives. As in La Fontaine’s use of the fable, the animal world allows them to avoid head-on criticism. The artists often appear in disguise, wearing the costumes of animals in search of knowledge and capable exchange, of commenting on the state of the world. In the video presented here, the camera never leaves the gaze of two dogs behind a fence, on the lookout for any minor movement: moving, ironic evocations of a human condition, prisoner of its desires and disappointments.
Technogym entrepreneur Nerio Alessandri.
Desire Abete Colapietro and PR Laura Morino Teso.
photographs courtesy Palazzo Grassi
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Shirin Neshat. Shirin Neshat – Faezeh, 2008, 35mm film transferred to Blue Ray. Shirin Neshat moved to the United States to study art. She didn’t go back to her country, Iran until 1990, when she was particularly struck by the effects of the Islamic revolution on the situation of women. Faezeh is an adaptation of the novel Women Without Men written by her compatriot Shahrnush Parsipur. This novel is composed of the stories of several women with widely different destinies, whose lives intersect during the summer of 1953, at the time of the coup d’etat that reestablished the authority of the Shah. In Faezeh a young woman, tormented by painful memories, wanders through a phantasmagoric landscape where she witnesses her own rape. The feeling of alienation is reinforced by the whispered Farsi phrases, only snippets of which are translated for the viewer.
Lawyers John and Annie Fiorilla.
PR Paola Manfredi.
Director of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana Martin Bethenod and author and specialist in art and the art market Judith Benhamou-Huet.
photograph courtesy Palazzo Grassi
Palazzo Grassi: Voices of Images – Yang Fudong. Yang Fudong – Liu Lan, 2003, 35 mm film, black and white. Chinese Yang Fudong first tried his hand at painting before turning to cinematography, which he uses in an eminently “authorial” manner: his films, made in 35mm, rely on very though-out, sophisticated images. His works comments on the abrupt changes undergone in China and the balance between tradition and modernity. A central question links his films, such as in Liu Lan: that of anachronism. In Liu Lan, two young people meet along the water’s edge. The girl is wearing traditional garb, while the boy seems to come from town. The treatment of the intrigue, soundtrack and more generally, the structure itself aligns this film with the fable, the tale and even romantic fluff. The reeds, the fog, the embroidery, the rowboat: each of these details evoke Chines painting. The male character seems to have strayed from the set of a European New Wave film. Wavering between lyricism and disappointment, by playing on contrasts, Yang Fudong produces a form of atrophy: it is difficult to determine the space, or even the temporality, in which we find ourselves.