Show season opens in Venice with Hirst
Oehlen at Palazzo Grassi
An exhibit focusing on the power of an artist’s self-representation from the 1970s until today is opening on April 8 in Venice as part of exhibitions this year organized by the Pinault Foundation in the lagoon city.
“Dancing with myself”, curated by Martin Bethenod and Florian Ebner, at Punta della Dogana showcases, among others, an installation by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) – a tent made with red pearls to evoke blood .
Gonzales-Torres’ artistic production has mainly focused on Aids.
A wax statue lit with candles by Urs Fischer is designed to be consumed by the end of the show while a fountain made as a self-portrait by Alighiero Boetti, the master of doubles, stands nearby.
The three oeuvres shed light on the complexity of self-representation in a show that “investigates the primordial importance of self-representation in artistic production from the 1970s until today and the role of artists as protagonists and subjects of their artwork”, the curators said.
Meanwhile a solo exhibit also opening on April 8 at Palazzo Grassi, “Cows by the Water”, is dedicated to German artist Albert Oehlen, also promoted by the Pinault Foundation.
The collective show is part of a cooperation with the Folkwang Museum in Essen, where it was first presented in 2016, and includes 140 artworks by 32 artists.
Bethenhod said that the artworks represent “the artist’s body not only as the subject of the oeuvre but as an instrument through which certain themes can be approached”, such as social and racial issues, gender identity and sexuality.
Artists become the focus of their art in order to give voice and reflect something else – an issue that goes beyond them, the curator said.
The show focuses in particular on four themes: melancholy, identity games, political autobiographies and raw material.
Highlights of the exhibit include Gilbert & George’s work, the huge self-portraits by Rudolf Stinger, Robert Gober’s leg coming out of a wall, Maurizio Cattelan’s sculptures, Cindy Sherman’s artwork and photos by Lee Friedlander.
Also showcased are artworks by Nan Goldin, Charles Ray, Giulio Paolini and Damien Hirst with Bust of the Collector from 2016 and With Dead Head from 1991.
On the other side of the Canal Grande, at Palazzo Grassi, the focus is on the eclectic and experimental work of Oehlen through a selection of 80 of his works from the 1980s until today, which are only in part coming from the Pinault collection.