Friday, August 16, 2013

Venezia: Art - Punta della Dogana – Prima Materia exhibition

Venezia:  Art - Punta della Dogana – Prima Materia exhibition. The new exhibition at Punta della Dogana entitled Prima Materia, until December 31, is curated by Caroline Bourgeois and Michael Govan. Eighty works from 1960 to today realized by artist from the Francois Pinault Collection. A dialogue between important historical movements, such as Mono-Ha and Arte Povera, are generated and coupled with in-depth monographic presentations of works by artists such as Llyn Foulkes, Mark Grotjahn, and Marlene Dumas. A selection of challenging installations specifically conceived for the space, by artists such as Diana Thater and Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, as well as new commissions by Theaster Gates, Loris Gréaud, and Philippe Parreno, are included.

Above: Marlene Dumas: Mamma Roma, 2012. For her paintings and drawings, the artist finds sources of inspiration in newspaper or magazine cuttings, film stills, her own Polaroid photographs of her friends and lovers, and thus merges personal intimacy with socio-political situations or art-historical references. Inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini’s famous film, in Mamma Roma Dumas paints Anna Magnani’s scream, a modern symbol of a mother’s pain at the death of her son.


Co-curator Caroline Bourgeois and artist Marlene Dumas.

  2 Photographs above: courtesy of Palazzo Grassi, ORCH Orsenigo_Chemollo

Loris Greaud: Does the Angle Between Two walls Have a Happy Ending?. 2013.   Loris Greaud works blend together large-scale architectural environments, music scores, installations, and films. Greaud explores an eclectic range of fields, from linguistics, science and science fiction, engineering and dreams, with the aim of providing a sensory experience to the viewer. The site-specific work, Does the angle between two walls have a happy ending is a post-human space that seems to be evolving in time.  It is driven by a cycle from which a merely audible sound escapes: the Shepard spectrum, an acoustic illusion that cheats the human brain and gives the impression of an infinite descending curve. Several neon candlesticks seem frozen, whereas the scattered glass on the ground enables the possibility of growth or, on the contrary, of combustion. The industrial white light creates an overexposure, preventing any shadow effect. On the wall, a monkey fetus rotates counterclockwise. Then everything dies out. Light, sound. Only the monkey, so similar to our human shape, carries on with his endless rotation in a religious silence... and then it all starts again. What is it all about? A new church for a spirituality yet to be invented? An apocalyptic altar refusing any kind of offerings? Or a space driven by laws that no human being can access? This device’s status lays in complete in-decision. 

Adel Abdessemed – Decor, 2011-12.  Often spectacular, deeply critical and metaphorical, Adel Abdessemed’s works make constant reference to the themes of social or political violence, life, suffering, and death. Born in 1971 in Constantine, Algeria, Abdessemed experienced the terrors of the civil war during the 1990s and subsequently moved to France to study art. He embraces with equal audacity a wide variety of media such as video, large- scale sculpture, drawing, and photography, and comments social events such as the 2005 riots in the Parisian suburbs, or the infamous foot- ball confrontation between Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi in 2006. As a student, he went to Colmar to see the Issenheim altarpiece painted between 1512–1516 by Matthias Grunewald. In 2011 he created Decor, four life-sized sculptures of Christ, modeled after the Crucifixion of the altarpiece’s central panel and made of razor wire, the sort used at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The artist subverts some pillars of Christianity: the repeated representation of Christ confers plurality to the fundamental principle of its unicity; moreover, the material used turns God, source and inspiration of love and faith, into a symbol of danger.

James Lee Byars:  Byars is Elephant, 1997.  The late James Lee Byars was born in Detroit in 1932 and died in Cairo in 1997. In Japan, where he lived for ten years between the 1950s and 1960s, Byars discovered the notion of ephemeral, which he considers a particular quality of art. This had a major role to play in his decision to transfer sensory, abstract and symbolic elements of Japanese No theatre and Shintoo ritual to Western knowledge, art and philosophy. Byars embodies a synthesis of different movements—Orientalism, Conceptual art, Minimalism, and Fluxus. His luxurious sculptures, works on paper, and performances question the boundaries between art and life, and the importance of living intensely. He usually dressed in outfits made of fabric such as gold lame, black and red silk, and often wore a black hat and a black mask. In Byars is Elephant (1997), his final installation before he died, the walls, floor, and ceiling are draped in gold lame. In the center of the room is a plinth wrapped in golden silk, on which is placed a massive sphere of rope made of hand-woven camel hair. Placed in such a way as to allude to an object of veneration, this rope knot is the symbol of the insoluble existential questions, perhaps even of the mystery that lies at the heart of human existence.

  Theaster Gates – Rickshaw For Fossilized Soul Wares, 2012.  Theaster Gates was born in Chicago, where he lives and works. His artistic practice includes sculpture, performance, installation, and urban interventions as well as social engagement. Alongside his activities as an artist, he works as a cultural and urban planner and community facilitator. He conceives projects that foster social engagement in poor neighborhoods of Chicago, such as the Dorchester Projects (2009): the rehabilitation of an abandoned house to turn it into a library, a University archive, and a restaurant. The artist describes this project as “real-estate art,” part of a “circular ecological system” in which the project is financed by the sale of Gates’ sculptures created with materials from the site. Rickshaw for Fossilized Soul Wares (2012) is a cart filled with black concrete from which several glazed bowls partially emerge. The sculpture was presented at an exhibition during which Gates ran a clay work-shop with skilled workers.

 Photograph courtesy of Palazzo Grassi, ORCH Orsenigo_Chemollo

 Mono_Ha/ Arte Povera: (foreground) – Kishio Suga: Gap of the Entrance to Space, 1979-2012.  The unique combination of some of the most emblematic works of Mono-ha and Arte Povera, respectively Japanese and Italian, highlights resonances and connections between these two art movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Kishio Suga’s installation Gap of the Entrance to Space consists of eleven natural stones and twenty-one cut stones placed on a zinc plate. Pieces on zinc are cut out to fit exactly on top of the cut stones that are then placed in the wholes left in the plate, creating a movement of inversion between the work and the floor, between above and below. Suga’s other work presented here, In the State of Equal Dimension (1973), made of branches, rope, and stones, interacts with the sculptures and photographs of trees Alpi Marittime (1968- 1985) by Giuseppe Penone, one of the protagonists of Arte Povera.

Mono_Ha/ Arte Povera: Michelangelo Pistoletto: Metrocubo d’Infinito (Parte di Oggetti in Meno), 1965-66. Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Metrocubo d’Infinito is a cube formed by six mirrors tied so that their reflecting surface is turned inward. The visitor can therefore only imagine the infinite space that results from the infinite reflections inside the object.

Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin:  Local Dock, Porch Limit, Public Crop, 2011-13. Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin have explored their creative partnership for more than ten years, making artworks together. Collaboration is vital to their work, as operative mode and as conceptual content. In Trecartin’s movies, Fitch not only performs on camera and serves production roles, but also often embeds her own sculptures into sets. The three works on view here are all co-authored by Fitch and Trecartin. Much of their joint output around Any Ever (2009-2011) consists of “sculptural theaters,” immersive environments built to individually house projections of the seven movies that compose this body of work.
 Public Crop (2011) is a sculptural theater for the film P.opular (2009). While the movie that loops within this piece stands as a script that has been carried out, the room itself can be read as another kind of script, of infinite formal potentialities latent within P.opular Local Dock (2011) is a sculptural theater without a movie. Built as an eighth room for Any Ever, it serves as an alternate expression of narrative endlessness and a counterpoint to other spaces that are supersaturated with figures and languages constantly streaming on screen. Porch Limit (2012) does not stem from Any Ever, yet here the artists continue to work with similar materials and lexicons to further develop the discourse on sculpture and its possible cinematic experiences. Unlike in Public Crop and Local Dock, here physical interaction is forbidden. This re-centers the viewer’s control over how to form a story within the forms.

  Zeng Fanzhi: This Land So Rich in Beauty no. 2, 2010.
Punta della Dogana. The view from a window onto the Giudecca Island. Triangular shaped Punta della Dogana separates the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal. As a center for contemporary art, the former customs house of the city presents a permanent exhibition of works from the François Pinault Collection, which changes periodically.
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