Punta della dogana
 
« Luogo e Segni »
 
The exhibition “Luogo e Segni” (or “Site and Signs,” title borrowed from a painting by Carol Rama, included in the show) at the Punta della Dogana brings together works by thirty-six artists who maintain a unique relationship to their respective urban, social, political, historical, and theoretical contexts.
 
<u>Text</u> <br/> <b>Thibaut Wychowanok</b> <br/> Art critic <br/>
 

<span class="alinea"></span>In his recently published book, <i>White</i>, American author Bret Easton Ellis denounces several flaws in American culture and in our globalized world. Because the ideology of the “like,” promoted by Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, has now imposed itself on everyone, we strive to meet the approval of as many people as possible; we have all become slaves to the majority media opinion. Ellis considers that we all have become “actors” in the great theater of social networks (and life), playing the role most likely to garnish the most “likes,” even if it means abandoning our chaotic, shifting, and contradictory individualities. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>This exhibition, curated by Martin Bethenod and Mouna Mekouar, is both an act and a haven of resistance to this society of “actors” and spectacle. It reinvigorates the truth of corrupted notions such as “representation” and “actors.” <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The works included (paintings, installations, sculptures, and videos) are not spectacular—or if they are, that is not their primary intention. They do not represent a single, unique thought, nor do they seek our approval or our “like.” They invite us to experience actual reality—whether it be tiny and trivial, chaotic, moving, contradictory—a deeply subversive gesture in a society ruled by political correctness, univocity, and the “wow” effect. The “actor” is not so much the artist as the visitor, who is independent, free, and responsible for this experience. These works are not authoritarian; there is no system in place to impose a direction. The result can be disconcerting, even stunning, for those who are no longer used to it. To help us in this experience, “Site and Signs” deploys three sensitive modalities through which to reconnect oneself to the world: poetry (the spirit of the poetess and artist Etel Adnan hovers over the entire exhibition), dialogue with the other (notably, via collaboration among artists), and memory. These three threads form the framework of our relationship to the world and of our identity. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>At the heart of the exhibition, the installation <i>Well and Truly</i> (2009–10) by American artist Roni Horn is composed of ten blocks of glass in different nuances of blue, green, grey, and white—or all at once. Venice’s changing light is captured and reflected in these raw translucent surfaces, nearly a meter in diameter, creating a colorful partition in space. As they change with the light, in unison with their environment, they constitute a library—a living memory—of all of the skies of Venice reflected within them. This work, like so many others in the exhibition, reveals both the architecture of the “site” (Punta della Dogana) and its environment, and its “signs”: water, wind, light… A space with many openings to the outside, Punta della Dogana is transformed by the action of the works that inhabit it, becoming a cornucopia of the sensitive world, capturing within each of its spaces unstable and gaseous states (as the works pass from horizontal to vertical, multiplying the motif of the wave and the formless, and thwarting all structures). <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>We also discover Liz Deschenes’ <i>FPS (60)</i> photographs, presented alongside photographs by Berenice Abbott selected by the artist. Deschenes created her images without using a camera: instead, she exposed photosensitive paper to moonlight and soaked them, at night, in chemical baths, capturing the reflections of the night. In a wonderful game of mirrors, the water and sunlight filtered through the Punta’s windows are reflected in her photographs. Abbott’s photographs of New York buildings are also reflected there, immersing their movement in architecture within a movement in the cosmos. Finally, visitors see themselves reflected in the works, and “can see themselves seeing and understanding the construction of the photographic object as well as that of their own perception,” in Deschenes’ words. <br/> <br/> <span class="alinea"></span>The exhibition thus seems perpetually in search of a miracle. The moment, for example, when a sunbeam hits the powdered glitter scattered on the ground by Ann Veronica Janssens, or Wu Tsang’s large iridescent fabric, will offer a sensitive revelation. The visitor experiences a dazzling spectacle: the cosmos pouring in through the window. Wind, sea, and sun form a flow that pours into the Punta and sweeps through it. The pieces are so subtle, however, that this torrent only exists if one wants to see it and welcomes it in oneself.



Opening page :<br/> Carol RAMA <br/> <i>Luogo e segni</i>, 1975 <br/> Plaster, photographic film, and marker on canvas <br/> 45 × 34 cm
From left to right: <br/> Roni HORN <br/> <i>White Dickinson THE CAREER OF FLOWERS DIFFERS FROM OURS ONLY IN INAUDIBLENESS</i>, 2006 <br/> Solid aluminum and cast white plastic <br/> 310,5 × 5 × 5 cm <br/> — <br/> Félix GONZÁLEZ‑TORRES <br/> <i>Untitled (Blood)</i>, 1992 <br/> Strands of beads and hanging device <br/> Variable dimensions <br/> — <br/> Félix GONZÁLEZ‑TORRES <br/> <i>Untitled (7 Days of Bloodworks)</i>, 1991 <br/> Acrylic, gesso and graphite on canvas, 7 elements <br/> 50,8 × 40,6 cm each
From left to right: <br/> Cerith WYN EVANS <br/> <i>We are in Yucatan and every unpredicted thing</i>, 2012-2014 <br/> Lustre (Galliano Ferro), Chandelier (Galliano Ferro), dimmer unit, control track <br/> 120 × 90 cm <br/> — <br/> Rudolf STINGEL <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 1990 <br/> Oil and enamel on linen <br/> 127 × 147,3 cm
From left to right: <br/> Lucas ARRUDA <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2016 <br/> Oil on canvas <br/> 50 × 50 cm <br/> — <br/> Ann Veronica JANSSENS <br/> <i>Untitled (white glitter)</i>, 2016 <br/> Iridescent polyester <br/> Variable dimensions
Liz DESCHENES <br/> <i>FPS (60)</i>, 2018 <br/> Gelatin silver prints on Dibond, 60 element <br/> 152,4 × 6,4 × 1,9 cm each
Edith DEKYNDT <br/> <i>Winter Drums 06 B (Tryptic)</i>, 2017 <br/> Fabric, resin, acrylic glass <br/> 24 × 18 × 5 cm each
R. H. QUAYTMAN <br/> <i>Spine, Chapter 20 (Silberkuppe)</i>, 2010 <br/> Silkscreen ink and gesso on wood <br/> 101,6 × 63 cm
Lucas ARRUDA <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2015 <br/> Oil on canvas <br/> 30 × 30 cm <br/> — <br/> <i>Untitled</i>, 2016 <br/> Oil on canvas <br/> 30 × 37,5 cm
From left to right: <br/> Lee LOZANO <br/> <i>Crook</i>, 1968 <br/> Oil on canvas, two parts <br/> 244,4 × 177,8 cm total <br/> — <br/> Giovanni ANSELMO <br/> <i>Direzione</i>, 1968 <br/> Granite and compass <br/> 18 × 155 × 50 cm <br/> — <br/> Lee LOZANO <br/> <i>No Title</i>, c. 1965 <br/> Oil on canvas, two parts <br/> 234,3 × 310,3 × 3,9 cm total <br/>
Anri SALA <br/> <i>1395 Days Without Red</i>, 2011 <br/> Video projection <br/> 43’46’’
Hicham BERRADA <br/> <i>Mesk-ellil</i>, 2015-2019 <br/> Cestrum nocturnum, reversed circadian rhythm, moonlight lighting, horticultural lighting, 7 stained glass terrariums <br/> 250 × 200 × 50 cm
Simone FATTAL <br/> <i>The Meeting</i>, 2018 <br/> Glazed terra cotta, two sculptures <br/> 90 × 40 cm 100 × 40 cm <br/> — <br/> <i>Angel II, Angel III, Angel IV</i>, 2018 <br/> Terra cotta <br/> 110 × 49 cm
 

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