Monday, May 26, 2014

Venice: Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance Exhibition

Venice: Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance Exhibition.  The exhibition Irving Penn, Resonance”, at Palazzo Grassi, until December 31, curated by Pierre Apraxine and Matthieu Humery, brings together on the second floor of the museum 130 photographs, taken between the end of the 1940s and the mid-1980s.
Above: Irving Penn – Woman with Roses (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in Lafaurie dress) – Paris – 1960.

Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance. The exhibition  tackles the themes dear to Irving Penn and which, beyond their apparent diversity, all capture every facet of ephemerality. This is true of the selection of photographs from the series “small trades”, taken in France, England and the United States in the 1950s. It is also the case for the portraits taken between the 1950s and the 1970s of celebrities from the world of art, cinema, and literature. Exhibited alongside ethnographic photographs of the people of Dahomey and of tribesmen from New Guinea and Morocco, they strongly underline the brevity of human existence, whether affluent or resource-less, famous or unknown.
Above: Irving Penn – Barnett Newman – New York - 1966  - And - Truman Capote - New York – 1965.

 Photograph courtesy Palazzo Grassi

Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance.  The exhibition path, which encourages dialogue and connections between works that differ in subject matter and period of time, gives prominence to still life photography from the late 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s: they are composed of cigarette ends, fruit dishes, vanitas as well as animal skulls photographed at the Narodni National Museum in Prague in 1986 for the series “Cranium Architecture”.
Above:  Irvine Penn – Poppy: Showgirl – London – 1968 - Copyright by Conde Nast Publications, Inc. – And – Ripe Cheese – New York – 1992.

Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance.  I Visiting the Narodni Museum in Prague in 1985, Penn came across a collection of animal skulls.  The following year he photographed twenty-eight of the skulls, selecting twenty-one to print in selenium-toned gelatin silver.  He considered the technique more appropriate to the subject than platinum, the smooth surface of the print echoing the texture of the bone.  Of animal skulls, Penn wrote: “An exquisite edifice and living machine.  Hard chambers of bone to guard soft organs, protected conduits and channels.  Smooth working mechanism of jaws and teeth.” Irving Penn, December 12, 1988.
Above: Irving Penn – Cranium Architecture – 1986.

Palazzo Grassi - Irving Penn, Resonance.  A selection of Penn’s work for Vogue is showcased from the collection of Vince Aletti.
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