Friday, March 29, 2024

Venice - Gallerie dell'Accademia + Casa dei Tre Oci - Affinita' Elettive - Exhibitions + Press Preview Photos

Gallerie dell'Accademia
Affinita' Elettive

The exhibition - Affinita ElettiveElective Affinities - until June 23at the Gallerie dell’Accademia and Casa dei Tre Oci on the island of Giudecca, bring together a selection of paintings and drawings from Museum Berggruen - Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, which are on display in Italy for the first time.  These forty extraordinary works by PicassoMatisseKleeGiacometti and Cézanne are "joined in dialogue" with those by Giorgione, Sebastiano Ricci, Pietro Longhi, Giambattista Tiepolo and Canova at the Gallerie dell’Accademia.

Pablo Picasso - Le Chandail Jaune - 1939

The title of the exhibition - Affinita Elettivewas chosen to evoke and underline the potential dialogue that arises from the meeting of these two important collections from similarities in iconography to subject matter. The title is inspired by the famous novel of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a writer who spent time in Venice during his travels to Italy

Pablo Picasso - Coupe de Fruits avec Poires et Pommes - 1908
in dialogue with
Nicolaes Van Verendael - Allegory of Vanity - 1679

The exhibition is curated by Giulio Manieri Elia and Michele Tavola, Director and Curator of the Gallerie dell'Accademia of Venice, and Gabriel Montua and Veronika Rudorfer, Head of and Curator of Museum Berggruen in Berlin, one of the most important European state institutes of modern art, named after the Paris-based art dealer and collector Heinz Berggruen - 1914-2007. In the year 2000, the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz - Prussian Cultural Heritage - managed to purchase Berggruen’s collection for the Nationalgalerie with funding from the German government and the state of Berlin

Henrie Matisse - Sauteuse de Corde - 1952
in dialogue with
Giorgione - Giorgio da Castelfranco - La Nuda - 1508c.

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Veronika Rudorfer - Curator of  the Museum Berggruen

Picasso's portrait of Dora Maar with Green Fingernails is shown alongside Giorgione's La Vecchia - very different works linked by an intimate relationship with the sitter.

Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar aux Ongles Verts - 1936
in dialogue with
Giorgione - Giorgio da Castelfranco - La Vecchia - 1502-1503c.

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Gabriel Montua - Head of the Museum Berggruen in Berlin

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Hana Streicher
Pablo Picasso - Dora Maar aux Ongles Verts - 1936

Jheronimus Bosch - Visions of the Hereafter - 1505-1515c.
in dialogue with
Paul Cesanne - Juenne Fille aux Cheveux Denoues - 1873-1874
Paul Klee - Rot-Stufung - 1921

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Barbara Klem and Petra Schaefer

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Cristina Beltrami

Pietro Longhi and the Mise-en-Scene of Domestic Life in Venice - 1741-1752
in dialogue with
Pablo Picasso - Arlequin Assis - 1905

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Fabrizio Plessi and Mario Codognato

Seen at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
Ziva Kraus and Andrea Avezzu

photo  - Massimo Pistrore - courtesy Gallerie dell'Accademia - Museum Breggruen - Neue Nationalgalerie

Alberto Giacometti -  Femme de Venise IV - 1956
in dialogue with
Antonio Canova - sculptures - 1804-1807

Casa dei Tre Oci - Breggruen Institute Europe
Elective Affinities - Works on Paper

The Elective Affinities exhibition continues at the Casa dei Tre Oci  - until June 23 - on the island of Giudecca with works on paper from the graphic collection of the - Gallerie dell'Accademia - in dialogue with works from the - Museum Breggruen - which include works by Klee, Picasso, Cezanne and Matisse. This neo-Gothic palace, designed as a home and studio by the artist Mario de Maria was built in 1913, has recently been reopened to the public after major restoration works to become the new headquarters of the - Berggruen Institute Europe - a place of study and international discussion, hosting exhibitions, workshops and symposiums. 

Casa dei Tre Oci - Breggruen Institute Europe

Paul Klee -Kl. Schloss gelb/rot/braun - 1922
Giacomo Quadrenghi - Fantastica Architettonica - first quarter 19th Century
Paul Klee - Tempel-Wandmalerei I - 1920

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Lorenzo Marsili - Director Breggruen Institute Europe

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Silvio Fassi, Nicola Bombassei, Luca De Michelis and Paolo Lucchetta

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Annie Cohen-Solal - Academic, Historian and Curator - with Marc Mezard

We Drank
Harry's Bar's famous Bellini

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Mario Codognato and Barbara Foscari

Pablo Picasso - Le Dormeur - 1942
in dialogue with
Simone Cantarini - Gruppo di Figure Virili Sdraiati - 1640

We Nibbled
Harry's Bar's - Tramezzini

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
 Michele Tavola - Curator Gallerie dell'Accademia

The Garden 
Casa dei Tre Oci - Breggruen Institute Europe

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Francois Xavier Saint Pierre and Laurel Saint Pierre

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Elena Casadoro Kopp, Chiara Carraro and Francesca Fungher

Seen at Casa dei Tre Oci
Cat Bauer and Fabio Marzari

 We Ate
Harry's Bar's - Risotto Primavera

The Spectacular View from the Casa dei Tre Oci
Canale della Giudecca 
Bacino di San Marco 
The Bell Tower of the Basilica di San Marco
Palazzo Ducale



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Thursday, March 21, 2024

Venice - Palazzo Grassi - Julie Mehretu - Ensemble - Exhibition

"What has fascinated me about her the sensitive way in which she transcribes the chaos of a world in constant upheaval, with intersecting architectural, political, social, and cultural influences. In a way, her work reflects her own history, since she was born in Africa and moved to America, before traveling across Europe."
Francois Pinault
President Palazzo Grassi - Punta della Dogana

Palazzo Grassi
Julie Mehretu - Ensemble
Nairy Baghramian - Huma Bhabha - Tacita Dean - David Hammons  
Robin Coste Lewis - Paul Pfeiffer - Jessica Rankin 

At Palazzo Grassi - until January 6 - Ensemble - is the largest exhibition of Julie Mehretu's work to date in Europe. Curated by Caroline Bourgeois, with Julie Mehretu, the exhibition brings together a large selection of her works, that she produced over the timespan of 25 years, including several of her recent paintings from 2021-2024. The exhibition is punctuated by the presence of the works by some of her closest artist friends - Nairy Baghramian, Huma Bhabha, Tacita Dean, David Hammons, Robin Coste Lewis, Paul Pfeiffer, and Jessica Rankin with whom she has developed a powerful affinity over the years and with whom she has exchanged and collaborated,it is organised following a principle of visual echoes, and is conceived as a free, non-chronological journey through her work.

Julie Mehretu - Transpaintingspaintings - 2023
framed in a aluminium sculpture conceived byNairy Baghramian 

"Several refer to contemporary events, such as the war in Syria or the peril of migration. They remind us that the artist, even when she uses metaphorical language specific to painting, is in no way cut off from our world and the challenges it faces—which is unsurprising, given her personal history." 
Bruno Racine

The palimpsest of Mehretu's work, forms multiple surfaces images and echoes with the collective dimension of working together with pieces by her friends - Nairy Baghramian, Huma Bhabha, Tacita Dean, David Hammons, Robin Coste Lewis, Paul Pfeiffer and Jessica Rankin - which enter into a rich dialogue with her own art. Beyond their formal differences, common concerns and shared driving forces become apparent, challenging the idea that the artist is self-sufficient and showing that, on the contrary, she is connected to others, to their thoughts and sensibilities. Their works inspire her and resonate with her own, with her way of looking at the world—all the more since each of these artists, like Julie Mehretu herself, experienced displacements that deeply shaped who they became, by force or by choice, leaving or fleeing Ethiopia, Iran, PakistanTheir participation in the exhibition is a testament to her acute attention to these gradually woven relationships, to their seminal role and creative power.

Bruno Racine - Director - CEO - Palazzo Grassi - Punta della Dogana 
Caroline Bourgeois - Chief Curator - Pinault Collection 

"An underlying network of lines arises from the entanglement and fusion of different spaces that blur our bearings."

Julie Mehretu - Rise of the New Suprematists - 2001

"In these blurry images, I see apparitions, the ghosts of the moment represented in the photograph... I am fascinated by this evanescence, by the loss of focus, by how much of these images still transpires"

In 2018, a fire broke out at the National Museum in Rio. In a few hours the fire destroyed almost all of the institution's collections. The event was widely reported  and images of the devastating fire circulated rapidly online. Mehretu immediately took possession of one of the photographs, in which the immense flames can be seen on the left, while a dense cloud of gray smoke emerges from each of the windows on the facade of the museum. Through a series of transformations, the artist maintains only the “DNA” of the original photograph, blurring it, converting into black and white, inverting its values and rotating it 270 degrees, thus transferring the image with the airbrush onto canvas, thus the painting takes on a confused appearance, made up of areas of light and shadow populated by amorphous and borderless masses... 
Julie Mehretu - Maahes - Mihos - torch - 2018-19

"In this exhibition we have included the work of seven artists who have been important to me and are close friends of mine, save David Hammons, who I have known of for so long and has been somewhat of a guiding star." 
Julie Mehretu

The artist draws on the realities of everyday life and the territory of the street, as well as on scholarly references to the history of modern art—Dada, Arte Povera, Marcel Duchamp—and to Black American culture, particularly jazz, and on a range of African and diasporic cultural traditions. His incisive works, marked by a strong symbolic charge that is as much poetic as it is political, point to the deleterious effects of racism, oppression, and precariousness. 
David Hammons - Untitled - 2010

Julie Mehretu - Iridium over Aleppo - 2012-2018

photo - New York Times - Josefina Santos -courtesy Palazzo Grassi

Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1970, Julie Mehretu lives and works in New York City.  Her practice in painting, drawing and printmaking engage us in a dynamic visual articulation of contemporary experience, a depiction of social behavior and the psycho-geography of space by exploring palimpsests of history, from geological time to a modern-day phenomenology of the social. 
Julie Mehretu

"Some of my figures have the feeling that they might start walking. I give them the feeling of implied movement, even though they are completely stationary. The ideas is that they are on their way somewhere, who knows where."
Huma Bhabha

Huma Bhabha - New Human - 2023
Julie Mehretu - Invisible Line - Collective - 2010-2011

In her works - Black City - below - and - Invisible Line (collective) - above - Julie Mehretu explores complex urban landscapes through abstract elements like fortifications, stadiums, and logos. These pieces reflect her fascination with architecture, utopias, and globalization's spaces, viewing architectural forms not just as spatial metaphors but as expressions of power dynamics. Her art, reminiscent of Alexander Calder's mobiles and the Russian avant-garde, creates disorienting visual experiences that blend historical persistence with anticipated futures, presenting layered, uncertain space-time narratives.
Julie Mehretu - Invisible Line - Collective - detail - 2010-2011

Nairy Baghramian was born in Isfahan - Iran - and now lives and works in Berlin, where she fled at the age of thirteen.  She explores the practice of sculpture to create works that question their setting and subvert expected modes of presentation, along with the architectural, sociological, political, and historical contexts that underpin them. Using an abstract vocabulary that often combines geometric and organic forms, and mixing industrial materials and processes with more supple and graceful elements, Baghramian highlights the vulnerability of the human body transformed by history. 
Nairy Baghramian - S'appuyant - 2022

Julie Mehretu 
Nairy Baghramian - Se Levant - mauve -2022

Starting in the mid-2010s, Julie Mehretu's canvases began featuring blurred colored shapes created from digitally altered news images, emblematic of significant events but rendered unrecognizable, transforming them into spaces for projection and reinvention. Mehretu's intuitive selection of these images reflects her engagement with global current events, particularly those highlighting human vulnerability and resistance, such as authoritarianism, civil unrest, and natural disasters, as well as movements like Black Lives Matter. She also honors African-American cultural figures, like jazz musicians and intellectuals, through her art. Some works reference historical paintings, linking past and present. Mehretu's evolving use of color, stenciling, screen printing, and diverse brushstrokes, alongside references to digital glitches and graffiti, results in dynamic, thought-provoking pieces that engage both sight and mind.
Julie Mehretu - Ghostymn - after the raft - 2019-21

"Lacerated, perforated and torn on all sides,
Hammons's flag no longer floats in the wind but hang inert,
like the scorned banner of a nation in ruins."

Since the 1970s, David Hammons has embraced a fringe stance, creating transient, subversive art that influenced a generation of African-American artists. His work, characterized by diverse assemblages and sculptures, is rich in symbolic and poetic significance. In - Oh say can you see - above - Hammons reimagines the American flag with the Pan-African flag's colors, reflecting the civil rights movement's spirit. Lacerated, perforated and torn on all sides, Hammons's flag no longer floats in the wind but hangs inert, like the scorned banner of a nation in ruins.
David Hammons - Oh say can we see - 2017

Julie Mehretu - Black City - 2007

"Intimacy" reflects the long-standing friendship and intellectual dialogue between Lewis and Julie Mehretu, exploring themes of history, migration, desire, and the interplay between language and art.

Intimacy is a single-channel video projection with sound, the installation by Robin Coste Lewis, showcases photographic portraits from a family archive discovered in her grandmother's home, spanning generations and encapsulating the African American experience during the great migration westward from the Southern States to escape racism. These images, ranging from sepia to color, offer a rare glimpse into the intimate moments and resilience of Lewis's family against the backdrop of systemic racism in the U.S., particularly during the Jim Crow era. The installation, enriched by an original soundtrack and Lewis's poignant poem, pays homage to the enduring spirit of diasporas and the significant role of Afro-descendant people in migration histories. "Intimacy" reflects the long-standing friendship and intellectual dialogue between Robin Coste Lewis and Julie Mehretu, exploring themes of history, migration, desire, and the interplay between language and art.
Robin Coste Lewis - Intimacy - 2022

Paul Pfeiffer's Incarnator features hyper-realistic sculptures of pop icon Justin Bieber's body parts, such as the torso and limbs, evoking the image of a young saint or Christ figure in their dismembered and tattooed state. Drawing inspiration from the Spanish encarnadores tradition of creating lifelike Catholic icons, Pfeiffer's work connects the craftsmanship of religious devotion with modern celebrity worship. This tradition, which originated in 16th-century Seville and spread to the Philippines, involves a meticulous process of carving, drying, and painting to achieve a luminous effect in the sculptures, still revered in Philippine churches. Pfeiffer's sculptures and his broader artistic practice, including video montages of mass entertainment events, explore the parallels between religious fervor and the cult of celebrity, questioning the psychological impact and role of these forms of devotion in shaping contemporary consciousness.
Paul Pfeiffer - Incarnator - Seville - 2024
Justin Bieber Study for Ecce Homo

"the act of sewing has a longevity, a resonance. It requires an ongoing relationship that reflects the random and repetitive movement of a word in your head, which lingers and returns."

Drawing on a wide range of subjects, Jessica Rankin's art weaves together personal experiences, literature and poetry, the languages of abstraction, map making and landscape painting as well as observational mark making and drawing. Often through the use of tools traditionally associated with female activities—embroidery and needlework—her work presents itself in the form of “mental landscapes.” Rankin is convinced that "the act of sewing has a longevity, a resonance. It requires an ongoing relationship that reflects the random and repetitive movement of a word in your head, which lingers and returns."
Jessica Rankin - Forever on the Verge of Becoming - 2023
Paul Pfieffer - Incarnatar - Pampanga - Kurt - 2018

Since the mid 200s, Tacita Dean has created numerous portraits of other artists, always filmed in 16mm. By fixing the images of the people depicted, she portrays, she foregoes any traditional biographical narrative and instead links each artist, shown at work, in conversation or in the apparent banality of their daily lives, to the materiality or their production and the subtle mechanics of their thinking . Two films  showing a more intimate side of Julie Mehretu, one at work, the other in casual conversation with an other artist, Venezuelan-American Luchita Hurtado, bear witness to the long intellectual companionship and unfailing friendship between Dean and Mehretu.
Tacita Dean - One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting - 2021

"In Desire was our breastplate, Julie Mehretu experiments with a new kind of acrylic paint: iridescent light emanates from the strokes that swirl across the surface.  As you move across the canvas, you see them take on a pearly, 
opalescent quality with a metallic finish."

Julie Mehretu - Desire was Our Breastplate
- 2022-23

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