"Dancing with myself," curated by Martin Bethenod and Florian Ebner, will be on display at Punta della Dogana through December 16, 2018. A collaboration between the Pinault collection and the Folkwang Museum in Essen, it was first presented in Essen in 2016; fifty-six additional works were included in this iteration of the exhibition.
<br><u>Martin Bethenod</u> — Showing a work in Venice, at Punta della Dogana, is always a very particular exercise. Trying to ignore or diminish the presence of context is illusory and pointless. We have realized over the years that, on the contrary, it is better to fully embrace the bricks, beams, the views to the outside, the eye being drawn to the Giudecca Canal and the Grand Canal.
<span class="alinea"></span>“Dancing with Myself” is an exhibition created within the context of a “functional” museum in Essen—almost a white cube, then transposed into a museum that is, on the contrary, extremely contextual. The rhythm and the volume of the spaces are very different from those at Essen, which can be modified according to a project’s requirements and the structure. Here, the spaces determine the exhibition layout. This has led us to rethink a lot of the sequences. The key themes of the exhibition—melancholy, play on identity, the body as raw material, political autobiography—still provide the structure, but the visit is more fluid, sometimes going back and forth, with breaks, different viewing perspectives, and mirror effects that give rhythm to the visit and offer a very different range of sensations.
<br><u>FE</u> — Moreover, some works have been added to the ensemble, whereas others are no longer included. Thus, the sublime <i>Delfo (II)</i> by Giulio Paolini, a large photograph on canvas from 1968, an experimental and liberating photographic technique, fits perfectly into the exhibition at Punta, as does an ironic citation from Antiquity and an important piece of Italian conceptual art. On the other hand, Boris Mikhailov and Joe Spence’s chromogenic, fragile works are “having a rest” after being on display for a long time […]. “Dancing with Myself”, then, has undergone a number of transformations: its concept is like an open book, like a stage play that has to be directed differently, or a piece of sheet music that needs to be interpreted according to the quality of the performance space.
<br><u>MB</u> — These spaces have allowed us to organize some new encounters between works, for example, the “trilogue” between Félix González-Torres, the self-portrait as a fountain by Alighiero Boetti, and the one as a burning candle by Urs Fischer. The large naves of Punta della Dogana also allow for a dialogue between inside and outside spaces, thanks, for example, to Roni Horn’s “a.k.a.” series on changing and multiple identities, now placed in the room nearest to the water, being a pervasive element in the artist’s work. On each side, two windows immediately establish a relationship between the works and the Canal outside.
<br><u>FE</u> — In this Venetian universe, one of the birthplaces of Western art, further dialogues blend in perfectly, or insert themselves into the space in a subversive way: like the encounter between Ulrike Rosenbach and Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Rosenbach’s feminist and militant thought on the role of women in paternalist representations in the mid-1970s, and Reynaud-Dewar’s “dancing with Josephine Baker” at the Centre Pompidou, refined, sophisticated, seductive, postmodern but not any the less critical.
<span class="alinea"></span><i>The Notion of Family</i> by LaToya Ruby Frazier, a story of the coming of age of a young Afro-American woman, and at the same time one of a blossoming artistic maturity, echoes <i>The Ballad of Sexual Dependency</i>, Nan Goldin’s founding story of a new radical form of biography using photography as its medium. Finally, the on-the-road motif in three images from Lee Friedlander’s famous series of “Self-Portraits” with Paolo Nazareth: North American streets become a Pan-American highway signifying the migratory route from the south to the north of the continent. The self-representation of the artist who has become a political tool.