Sunday, May 26, 2013



 INTERVIEW -  Nally Bellati

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Venice: Pre-Biennale - MUST SEEs – Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice exhibition

Venice:  Pre-Biennale - MUST SEEs – Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice exhibition. In the splendid rooms of the Palazzo Ducale, until August 18, the exhibition, Manet Returns to Venice is organized by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia in collaboration with the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, it is curated by Stephane Guegan, with the scientific direction of Guy Cogeval and Gabriella Belli, eighty paintings, drawings and prints, some of which have never left France before, are on show.
Above: Edouard Manet - The Grand Canal, Venice, 1874, oil on canvas. Manet was already a famous painter, in 1874, the year of the first Exhibition of Impressionist Painters,was also the year of his third voyage to Italy and of his return to Venice which he immortalized in two small canvases showing the Grand Canal. In these pictures, we seem to sense the already very modern atmosphere of the late Guardi; in the small but masterly works, which served as a model for much Venetian painting towards the end of the 19th century, the air is so transparent as to make the blues and whites of his palette dance as never before.


 Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice. The exhibition arises from a need to undertake a critical survey of the cultural models that inspired the young Manet. These models, have hitherto referred almost exclusively to the influence of Spanish painting on his art, actually included much Italian Renaissance art, as the Venetian exhibition shows: alongside his masterpieces, there are a series of exceptional studies inspired by great 16th-century Venetian paintings, from Titian to Tintoretto and Lotto in particular.  The exhibition also highlights, his close links with Italy and Venice. His Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe and Olympia (1863) are clearly variations on Titian and are both splendid examples of Manet’s links with Italian art.
Above. Edouard Manet – Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas and Titian – Venus of Urbino, 1538 oil on canvas.  The exceptional juxtaposition of Titan’s Venus of Urbino and Manet’s Olympia highlights the special role that 16th century Venetian painting had on Manet.

Edouard Manet – The Fifer, 1866, oil on canvas.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Between Music and Theatre room.  

Edouard Manet – Masked Ball at the Opera, 1873-1874, oil on canvas.  In Manet’s famous Masked Ball at the Opera, which was rejected that same year by the jury of the Parisian Salon, appears the same dance of masked lovers and ambiguous players that he must have known through the work of the Venetian Pietro Longhi.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Eduoard Manet – Portrait of Emile Zola, 1868, oil on canvas and Lorenzo Lotto – Portrait of a young Gentleman in his Study, 1530c., oil on canvas.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Eduoard Manet – On the Beach, 1873, oil on canvas. Painted during a holiday at the sea, it shows Suzanne from behind, absorbed in reading, and Manet’s brother Eugene in the same position he was portrayed ten years earlier in the Dejeuner.  Both turn their backs to the observer and seem isolated in their thoughts.  The painting, although painted outside, is a long way from the Impressionist spirit.  The composition refers to Andrea del Sarto’s Madonna del Sacco; carefully copied earlier in 1857.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Eduoard Manet – At the cafe, Study of Legs, 1880, watercolor on squared paper.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Eduoard Manet Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets.  This is one of the four portraits of Berthe and one of his masterpieces.  Here the intense, lateral light combines with the virtuoso use of blacks.  The painting also heralds the pastels of the following years, linked to the representation of Parisian fashion of the time.

Palazzo Ducale – Manet Returns to Venice.  Eduoard ManetThe Lemon, 1880-1881, oil on canvas.

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Venice: Pre-Biennale - MUST SEEs - Le Stanze del Vetro - Fragile? exhibition.


Venice:  Pre-Biennale - MUST SEEs - Le Stanze del Vetro - Fragile? exhibition.    The Fragile? exhibition, until July 28, curated by Mario Codognato,  at the new glass museum Le Stanze del Vetro on the magical island of San Giorgio Maggiore just across from San Marco features 28 works of art by internationally renowned artists.  In the context of Venetian glassmaking and its peculiar craft connotations, Fragile? aims at taking a different yet equally important aspect into account, namely the use of glass as a found object, with specific metaphorical and linguistic features. 
Above: Giuseppe Penone – Barra d’aria, 1969-1996.  The work Barra d’aria is a glass parallelepiped through which the artist stimulates a perception different than that of the noises of the city.  The air it contains becomes the constructive material of the work, to which one thus attributes, as would latter also be the case for the celebrated work Soffio, (1978), sculptural value and an automatic process.

 Mona Hatoum – Drowning Sorrow (wine bottles) 2004, detail. Drowning Sorrow is an installation comprised of two hundred wine bottles that seem to be set in cement, in an elegant circular arrangement.  The glass bottles, the transparency of which creates the plays of light and shadow often present in her work, if on the one hand clearly refer to the bitter habit of drowning one’s sorrow in alcohol, on the other hand, caught in a flow that has crystallized their position, can be read as a metaphor for a shipwreck or romantic drift since they are potential ferrymen of anonymous messages.
Gilbert and George - Reclining Drunk, 1973.  The work Reclining Drunk directly calls to mind the widespread problem of alcoholism in London, previously addressed in other works. Pursuing the credo of the total superimposition of art and life, the banal gin bottle crumpled by heat, or better, by suffering, rises to a work of art and becomes a metaphor for the existential suffering of humanity.
Ai Weiwei – Dust to Dust, 2009.  Dust to Dust is a simple glass jar, like one you could buy at Ikea, a symbol of the conformity of modern industry, it contains within it the pulverized remains of an ancient ceramic vase from the Neolithic period, destroyed by the artist himself, who with this irreverent act transformed an ancient urn into a modern one.  Condensing the memory of history into a handful of dust, translating the container into the contained.

Le Stanze del Vetro - Fragile? exhibition.  Instead of the precise traits of manufactured artworks, other aspects are sought, such as symbolic transparency, fragility and resistance, imprecision and smoothness, along with the construction of elements that draw inspiration from reality and contemporary artistic language.  “In the 21st century, because of the historical avant-garde movements, visual arts cease to be a sole mimesis of reality through painting and sculpture, states curator Mario Codognato (above), by using objects and materials taken from the real world and industrial production, a new metaphoric, yet tautologically concrete, dimension is born. Glass, thanks to its widespread use in architecture and its double nature of transparent medium and at the same time barrier, becomes a new linguistic tool through which to create images”.
Artist and the exhibitions’ art director Laura de Santillana and chairman of Pentagram Stiftung Marie-Rose Kahane.
Joseph Beuys – Terremoto in Palazzo, 1981, detail. Terremoto in Palazzo is a disturbing installation, loaded with memory and collective pain, made by the artist right after the 1980 earthquake in Irpinia on invitation by the Neapolitan gallerist Lucio Amelio, who dedicated an important contemporary art exhibition to the tragic event.  The symbolic power of exploded glass in the center of the installation reflects the fragility and transitoriness of existence and contrasts with the precariousness of the still-intact jars that support the furniture, a metaphor for a civilization in delicate balance.
On the scientific committee David Landau.
Fondazione Giorgio Cini Onlus, general secretary Pasquale Gagliardi.

Marcel Duchamp – Air de Paris, 1919-1939.  Duchamp’s sarcastic irreverent practice is also present in the work Air de Paris, a classic pharmacy cruet that the artist paradoxically claimed to be full of air from the French capital.  The transparency of the glass container underlies the inconsistency of the assumption, that it is the presence of air, which is obviously invisible and above all the immateriality of the work itself, the value of which resides fundamentally in the artist’s assertion.

Damien Hirst – Death or Glory, 2001.  Death or Glory is a title which carries within the ambivalence of the artist’s work in the precise desire to give rise in the public to a double reaction of attraction/repulsion, to attempt a representation of human transitoriness and at the same time to proclaim the victory of science over flash.   The fascination of Hirst’s work lies in the contradiction of the message even before the provocation of the language, in the capacity to formalize the anxiety of contemporary humankind through tangible visions.

Cyril de Commarque (above) – Migrants, 2013. In the installation Migrants, bottles are on the one hand a metaphor for the forced voyage in the desperation for survival of the African populations constrained to travel the waters of the Mediterranean to cross invisible boundaries of Europe in a makeshift way and, on the other hand, the symbol of a limbo, a condition at once both uncertain and hopeful.  In a composition organic in tone and emulating the vascular system, glass bottles contain throbbing forms similar to a heart or lungs that fill the room with the sound of voices, anonymous and confused messages that create a sensation of disorientation, a state of precariousness, of tension and finally of personal involvement in this collective drama.

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Venice: Pre-Biennale - MUST SEEs - Le Stanze del Vetro - Fragile? exhibition -Damien Hirst

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Venice: Pre-Biennale – MUST SEEs - Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.

photograph courtesy palazzo grassi

Venice: Pre-Biennale – MUST SEEs - Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.   Until December 31, Palazzo Grassi presents the exhibition Rudolf Stingel, curated by the artist himself in collaboration with Elena Geuna. The project, conceived expressly for Palazzo Grassi, unfolds over the atrium and both upper floors, a space of over 5.000 square meters. For the first time, the museum devotes the whole exhibition area to the work of a single artist.  The exhibition includes previously unseen paintings as well as creations from the past years and a site-specific installation. This is Stingel’s largest ever-monographic presentation in Europe. 

Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.  The exhibition presents a selection of over thirty paintings from collections around the world, including the artist’s collection and that of Francois Pinault. Many of these works were created in the studios of Merano and New York specifically for this project, which spreads over all the rooms of Palazzo Grassi, where carpeting based on an oriental rug covers the entire surface of the walls and floors.
Above. Francois Pinault and Rudolf Stingel with Untitled (Franz West), 2011 oil on canvas, Pinault Collection.


 Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.  Untitled, 2012, oil on canvas, three panels, Pinault Collection.

Chief executive and director of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana Martin Bethenod and New York dealer Paula Cooper.

The Atrium.

Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.  Untitled (Madonna), 2009, oil on linen, Pinault Collection.

 Curator Caroline Bourgeois.

Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.  Untittled, 2013, oil on canvas, Pinault Collection.

  Palazzo Grassi – Rudolf Stingel.  The project, conceived by the artist expressly for Palazzo Grassi, spreads over all the rooms of the building, where a carpet with oriental patterns covers, for the first time, the entire surface of the walls and floors.

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