Monday, July 06, 2015

Venice: Palazzo Grassi – Martial Raysse

Venice: Palazzo Grassi – Martial Raysse. The exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, Martial Raysse, until November 30, who is one of the most important living French painters and winner of the 2014 Praemium Imperiale. This is his first monographic exhibition outside of France since 1965 and it is the perfect opportunity to discover or rediscover his work and to explore the dedication and proximity between  the collector and the artist.
Above. America America – 1964.

Photograph by Matteo De fina – courtesy Palazzo Grassi

Martial Raysse and Caroline Bourgeois

Martial Raysse. The exhibition is curated by Caroline Bourgeois in close collaboration with the artist, it brings together more than 300 works from 1958 to the present day; paintings, sculptures, videos and neon works, almost half of which have never been shown to the public. The course of the exhibition, which is non-chronological, offers a new point of view on his work, by underlining, on the one hand, the multifaceted nature of his artistic production, and, on the other hand, the continuous dialogue and echo he has established among his works throughout his sixty years of career.

Martial Raysse. The painter emerged at the same time as major post-war American artists such as Warhol and Liechtenstein and he worked in Nice, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Although one of the major artists of the second half of the 20th century, Raysse has only recently gained the same reputation as some of his more well-known ‘Pop Art’ contemporaries.
Above. Japan – 1964. Made in Japan – La Grande Odalisque – 1964. Portrait of an Ancient Friend – 1963. Proposition to Escape: Heart Garden – 1966.

Palazzo Grassi: Martial Raysse – The Ground Floor. “We wanted the exhibition to cover every aspect of Raysse’s artistic practice: from his small sculptures, which range from simple figures to games played with himself, through the drawings as works of preparation and his films that he uses to convey his libertarian ideas, to the pictures that compose his latest works. We have also punctuated the exhibition with works that are in a way self-portraits, reflecting the incredible demands the artist has made on himself and the loneliness he has had to endure in order to move forward in his art.” Bourgeois explains.
Above. The ground floor has ten display cases with ninety-five sculptures made between 1958 and 2014. Ailleurs – 1987.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. Photography for me played the role of a link that, in the beginning, took the form of stereotyped faces of young women in advertisements, leitmotifs of our visual culture. Through these faces, an initially experienced form of communication establishes itself beyond the preexisting formulas.” Martial Raysse. 
Above. Make Up - 1962.
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse
La Belle Tarentaise - 1993

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse.  “In his history paintings, he offers to take a critical distance from what we may see or believe. He explores mythological subjects, as in L’Enfance de Bacchus or Le Jour des Roses sur le Toit, and uses them to speak of conspicuous consumption, of his distance from politics (Poisson d’Avril and Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas, below) or of his desire to laugh at the foibles of his time (Le Carnaval a Perigueux, above). Painter, sculptor, draftsman, but also poet and filmmaker: so many reductive terms with which to attempt to define this multifaceted and unclassifiable artist whose work spans the second half of the 20th century and continues, even today, to surprise us with its idiosyncrasy.” For Alain Jouffroy in 1996, Le Carnaval a Perigueux (1992) evoked “those twentieth-century painters who, with their violent irony, their violent severity, depicted 1920s Berlin as a society play-acting as it began to decompose, both mentally and politically.”
Above. Le Carnaval a Perigueux – 1992.
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. Raysse continued to innovate and incorporated neon in his paintings creating iconic works such as Nissa Bella in 1964 and then Peinture a Haute Tension, above in 1965. Raysse’s first foray into cinema is the painting Suzanna, Suzanna (1964), in which a video is included. After introducing film imagery into painting areas, the artist produced several whimsical, burlesque short films featuring several of his artist friends. He utterly unleashed his critical standpoint and penchant for experimenting in these films. Two-way exchanges between cinema and painting flourished, enriching both.
Above. Peinture a Haute Tension - 1965.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

Toi et Moi – 2009

 Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse. After 1962, images of glamorous women came to dominate Raysse’s work. Whether in the form of his unconventional, neon-hued canvases or in his early environmental installations, Raysse’s new pictorial love of women was neither a misogynist about-face nor a regression into representational art. His women are simultaneously the subjects of his (pictorial) desire and critical ciphers for his sociopolitical insights into the upheavals facing France. 
Above. Nu Jaune et Calme - 1963.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse
Liberte Cherie – 1991 - detail

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

Raysse Beach - 1962
Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse.  Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas, created exactly fifty years later, (after Raysse Beach, 1962, above) is not an installation but a painting of unusual size, measuring 3 meters in height by 9 in width. Chronologically it is the last of a series of works of large format. The subject is identical to that of Raysse Beach but the atmosphere here is very different: the two works are separated by a huge gulf that is the results from a different way of thinking. In Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas the artist is not celebrating the apotheosis of a happy and optimistic society as he did in Raysse Beach. On the contrary, here the human figures painted in bright and acid colors seem to be dancing casually on the brink of the abyss. In this work we find all three of the traditional genres that Raysse has been practicing daily for at last thirty years: portrait, landscape and history painting. These different areas of his research come together in the large format, of extreme interest to the artist in so far as it can accommodate on the one hand grand narratives and on the other his love of detail, his fondness for a micro-painting strewn with small comic annotations and mysterious symbols.
Above. Ici Plage, Comme Ici-Bas – 2012.

Palazzo Grassi - Martial Raysse

L’Archer - 1980


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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Venice - Highlights: France Thierard – Venezia Come Piace a Me – Guide Book

watercolor by Aurore de La Morinerie

Venice - Highlights: France Thierard – Venezia Come Piace a Me – Guide Book. France Thierard’s unusual, curious and fascinating guide to Venice, Venezia Come Piace a Me – Una guida per perdersi or Venice as I love It – a guide for getting lost, is the first book of a new collection of guides on cities on the water. It is a travel book for women to get lost and to dream in; yet it is also a valuable book of information.
Venice as I love It, is a guide by the traveler, France Thierard, who lives in Venice and shares with readers her secrets and those of her friends in  the Serenissima.
“None of us are ever exactly the same voyager, and this concept inspired my book: a guide based on elective affinities, that would let each reader travel according to her own personality and desires; The Dreamer, The Adventuress, The Erudite and The Elegant are the key to this book; they share their art of living with the reader, and confide all of their secret rendezvous. Offering a choice of paths, sights and gourmet delights, they give a special sense to their most familiar places. Each reader might follow only one of them, according to her own taste, or all four, depending on her mood and how it changes from one moment to the next.”
Above.  Author France Thierard at Punta Della Dogana with the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the background.
Watercolor – Santa Maria della Salute church - Aurore de La Morinerie.I asked Aurore de La Morinerie to take part in this editorial project, and she contributed with the delicacy, poetry and modernity her watercolors. Her portraits of the four voyagers identifies them and acts as references for the guide’s readers, orienting them with an elegant system of signs and colors.


Venice as I love It – a guide for getting lost - The Erudite - curious, humanistic and passionate. In her search for rare beauty, the Erudite uncovers the exceptional artistic treasures of Venice.


The Erudite – loves: “The tranquility of a “floating monastery. "The sweet, fresh air of San Lazzaro degli Armeni. The vaporetto takes me to this island, once a refuge for Armenians. The monastery and its enormous library rise inside an exotic garden, and after a visit I always see the church’s blue sky and golden stars in my dreams. I always leave with a jar of rose petal jam prepared by the monks, and take the last boat back to Venice, when the sky is set ablaze with a kaleidoscope of topaz, amethyst and ruby.”
Above. The Library of the Armenian monastery.

San Lazzaro degli Armeni – The Rose Petal Jam. Don’t leave the island without a jar of the delicious rose petal jam. The Mekhitarist monks at San Lazzaro are known for making jam from rose petal around May, when the roses are in full bloom. Around five thousand jars of jam are made and sold in the gift shop in the island. Monks also eat it for breakfast.


Venice Biennale 2015 - Golden Lion for Best Pavilion: The National Pavilion of The Republic of Armenia. The Armian Pavilion during the Venice Biennale, until october 18, is housed inside the Mekhitarist Monastry, it won the Golden Lion Award for Best Pavilion “..for forming a pavilion based on a people in diaspora, each artist engaging their specific locality as well as their heritage. The pavilion took the form of a palimpsest, with contemporary positions inserted into a site of historic preservation. In a year that witnesses a significant milestone for the Armenian people, this pavilion marks the resilience of trans-cultural confluence and exchanges.”
Above. Haig Aivazian – Hastayim Yasiyorum (I am sick, but I am Alive) – 2014.


The Erudite – loves: Friulane (Venetian velvet slippers, with padding made from jute sacks and soles cut from old bicycle tires.


The Erudite – loves: a pizza by the water at Il Refolo owned by famous da Fiore restaurant.

Santa Croce 1459 - Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio -
041 524 00 16

The Erudite – loves:  Coffee at El Chioschetto. “When, in the early morning, I want to breathe in the scent of the salt air, I place myself in the sun on the Zattere and rejoice to see, already at that time of day, the Giudecca canal overflowing with life.”
El Chioschetto – 1406/A Fondamenta delle Zattere


Venice as I love It – a guide for getting lost - The Adventuress - vagabond, audacious and overflowing with life. The Adventuress wanders through the city at twilight, explores the labyrinth of its calli and canals and plunges into the mystery of Venice.


The Adventuress – Loves: The first collection of glassware by Marcantonio Brandolini for LagunaB: a must-have! “New colors for LagunaB: a chartreuse yellow, an apricot orange, some lagoon green hues, a deep Venetian red, a pearl white… and some more masculine colors, grafted onto Murano crystal, which is sometimes black. The result reminds me of the thousand sandbanks and small islands with serpentine watery inlets scattered across the lagoon, or the birth of glass during a volcanic explosion when the incandescent matter cools in the air. This is the effect of the burning glass as it comes out of the furnace, that the master glassmaker plunges into cold water, a perfect success! I immediately seize this occasion, hesitating however between the water glasses and this new form that Marcantonio prefers, a small straight goblet with somber colors, better for drinking a bull-shot than a glass of mineral water! I am delighted by this first collection,that is sensible, elegant and provocative, like Marie’s son.”

L’Angolo del Passato – Campiello dei Squelini – 3276/A Dorsoduro

  watercolor by Aurore de La Morinerie

The Adventuress – Loves:  Rowing, sending ripples through the water with each oar stroke. “Far away from the city’s motorboats, I am free to enjoy the intimacy of the lagoon. The current carries me gently over the murmuring water. I caress the oar’s handle as I glide softly down the deep canals, brushing past the bricole and the shallow barene. The lagoon goes through a new metamorphosis with each passing hour, sparkling with opalescent reflections over the variegated transparency of its waters. Towards the lost islands of Sacca Sessola, Santo Spirito and Poveglia, Alessandra rows “alla veneta” (Venetian style), standing up and using only one oar. Her maestro is teaching her the art of navigating on a Mascareta, a flat-bottomed Venetian boat. Giulio prefers to row “alla valesana”, standing up but using two oars. When it’s my turn to try one technique or the other, the boat displays the colors of the association Canottieri della Giudecca, white and red. Women have an important place in this rowing club: in addition to the “regata delle donne”, they participate in all the regattas held all year long, boarding a Caorlina or a Sandolo for a few enchanting hours in the southern lagoon or along the canals in the interior, or perhaps for a longer trip to the Po Delta, or towards Grado.”
To learn how to row -

The Adventuress – Loves: To watch the sunset with a glass of Prosecco or a Spritz after rowing with the Club di Voga at the Canottieri della Giudecca at La Palanca, overlooking the Zattere and the church of the Gesuati.
La Palanca – 448 Fondamenta del Ponte Piccolo – Giudecca
The Adventuress – Loves: The art of the forcola (oar lock) revealed. “All of the gondolier’s dexterity is already included in the art of building a gondola… In between the boat and the gondolier’s oar, however, lies the invaluable forcola, which concentrates all the experience of a good rower. In his workshop in Dorsoduro, Saverio Pastor reveals to me his unique expertise in cutting a forcola. Carved out of a single piece of walnut, pear or cherry wood, its contour provides no less than eight points on which the oar can lay. It is a true work of art, sought-after by collectors worldwide. I never tire of watching the patient and passionate work of these artisans.”

Punta della Dogana - Francois Pinault Foundation - Bookshop. The Punta della Dogana bookshop, as well as, other museum bookstores and bookshops all over Venice stock France Thierard's Venezia Come Piace a Me – Una guida per perdersi, as well as the French version – Venise Comme je l’Aime and in September the English version will also be available.  The book is illustrated throughout with watercolors by French artist Aurore de La Morinerie with graphics and layout by Pamela Berry and Alessandro Tusset. It is published by Edizioni Elzeviro.
Punta della dogana - Francois Pinault Foundation - Bookshop. In the bookshop, Edizioni Elzeviro's publisher Alessandro Tusset assists author France Thierard, who is signing copies of her book, Venezia Come Piace a Me – Una guida per perdersi.

Venice as I love It – a guide for getting lost - The Elegant - generous, spiritual and irresistible. The Elegant lives in a world of luxury, and returns to her palazzo by motorboat.


The Elegant – Loves: Breakfast on an altana. “As I sit on an altana, one of the wooden terraces suspended on the city’s rooftops, Servane has prepared a delicious breakfast for me. The juice is served in ethereal octagonal Venetian hand-blown glasses, so thin that they seem to be lighter than air. Looking out from under the ivory canopy that protects us from the sun, we enjoy the view over the roofs of Venice and the Grand Canal, with the bell-tower of the Frari basilica and the solemnly inclined tower at Santo Stefano in the distance. The world of Venice’s hanging gardens, so intriguing when seen from below, is now unveiled.”
Historical note - Altana: perched on top of the roofs of some Venetian residences, these wooden terraces are very much sought-after in the lagoon city. According to legend, Venetian women, whose blond tresses were once highly praised, used to come here to lighten their hair by exposing it to the sun. In the 15th century, more than seventy recipes were used to bleach these courtesans’ hair, including one made with ointment and horse urine!
Above. Author France Thierard and Servane Giol, enjoy the altana of the Bauer Hotel’s Il Palazzo, with views over Santa Maria della Salute, the bacino di San Marco and San Giorgio Maggiore.
Bauer - Il Palazzo – Settimo Cielo. Breakfast in “Seventh Heaven” on the terrace of the seventh floor, of the Bauer’s Il Palazzo, which is reserved exclusively for hotel guests, however, showing a copy of the book, Venezia Come piace a me, you too can enjoy a cup of coffee on the altana and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and lagoon. 

The Elegant – Loves: To choose from the assortments of Panama hats, directly imported from Ecuador, or buy a gondolier's hat which are handmade on the spot in the center of Venice at Giuliana Longo.

The Elegant – Loves:  A dinner worthy of a queen!  “Today is Sunday and it is cool enough outside, for an autumn evening, to eat at the Riviera on Fondamenta delle Zattere. Their raw fish is fantastic, as are the ravioli di branzino or the sea bass baked in a salt crust, strongly recommended by G. P. Cremonini, the new owner of this historical restaurant. The setting sun caresses my face, and the canal twinkles with a thousand sparks in the evening light, reminding me of the splendid summer that has just gone by…”

The Elegant – Loves: the exhibitions at the Stanze del Vetro on the island of San Giorgio. Le Stanze del Vetro, is a long-term cultural initiative launched by Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung, devoted to the study and the promotion of the art of glassmaking in the twentieth century.
Above. Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925-1931 - exhibition curated by Marino Barovier – Le Stanze del Vetro - 2013.

The Elegant – Loves:  Laura de Santillana’s fascinating world of glass. “Granddaughter of the famous glassmaker Paolo Venini, Laura has been imbued with the magic of this art since her childhood. Today she works with a few of the great masters of the glass-making tradition, creating lines of refined objects in geometric or organic shapes. She plays with the opacity and the fluidity of polished sunken glass, using effects of distortion and the alchemy of color and light. With her innovative sculptural work, Laura has created a new, sensual and captivating aesthetic, that has already seduced the museums of the world and the Biennale.”
Above. Laura de Santillana during the exhibition at the Stanze del Vetro - I Santillana – Works by Laura de Santillana and Alessandro Diaz de Santillana – 2014, a dialogue and confrontation between the different poetics of two artists. The novelty, in this specific case, is that the artists in question are also brother and sister.


Venice as I love It – a guide for getting lost - The Dreamer - Imaginative, intuitive and sensual. The Dreamer lives for the moment, discusses philosophy with a seagull and loves to be permeated by the uproar and the silence of Venice.

The Dreamer Loves: Angels. Angels in gilded wood, or even a pair of wings from the Bottega dell'Indorador owned by father and son team Gianni and Alberto Cavalier, just off the Campo Santo Stefano.
 watercolor by Aurore de La Morinerie
The Dreamer - Loves: Luminous mosaics. “The basilica majestically rises in St. Mark’s Square, with its Byzantine domes, its horses reaching towards the sky and its shining reflections that blaze under the setting sun. All images that lead us towards the Orient! Underneath these bright glass tiles, however, lies the entire art of mosaics.”
The Dreamer – Loves: To Lose herself amongst the shades of the Library of Colors. “Far removed from St. Mark’s, in the middle of a garden in Cannaregio, Villa Orsoni is home to a furnace where the alchemical secrets of color are guarded and developed, a workshop in which glass tiles are still cut by hand, and a “color library” that contains a staggering number of hues. Time seems to have been suspended in this magical place, where the over three thousand colors produced from the company’s foundation in 1888 until today are conserved: a palette that Tiepolo would have dreamed of! Gold foil tiles manufactured according to the techniques of the ancient Byzantine mosaics, and enamels as pure as the ones made during the Renaissance in Murano, or even until a few years ago by the Dona family in Murano. Today, most of the great artisans of Venetian mosaics live and work in the municipality of Spilimbergo, in the province of Udine.
  Photographs courtesy Sigfrido Cipolato
The Dreamer – Loves: Earings with skulls.  Venetian Blackamoor brooches in ebony, gold, diamond and rubies made by the goldsmith Siegfried Cipolato.  “The jewelry is small but so great!”
The Dreamer – Loves: A Bacaro. For an aperitivo and a cicchetto she goes to the wine merchants enoteca Al Prosecco on the Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, away from the main tourist routes, a characteristic Venetian spot, a place of striking beauty, shaded by trees, close to an ancient basilica. Al Prosecco specializes in regional and national in Bio-dynamic wines as well as local and national gastronomic products.
photograph by Mark Edward Smith
Palazzo Labia: Venezia come piace a me - Una guida per perdersi. In the ballroom of the Eighteenth Century Palazzo Labia under the frescoes Giambattista Tiepolo, the book launch of the Italian and French version of France Thierard’s book Venezia Come piace a me - Una guida per perdersi, with illustrations by Aurore de La Morinerie, published by Edizioni Elzeviro.
Above. All the ladies who wrote a piece for the book, and all the ladies who France wrote about, gathertogether around the Elzeviro's publisher Alessandro Tusset.
Front row: Mary Grazia Rosin, Camilla Seibezzi, Sigrid de Montrond, Chistina Beltrami, Elena Zeno, Maria Novella Papafava, Gabriella Gamberini Zimmerman, Alessandro Tusset, Giordana Naccari, Antonella Fontana, Pascaline Vatin, Lilli Doriguzzi, Servane Giol, Gabriella Cardazzo, Marie-Helene Giannesini, Susan Wise, Aurore de la Morinerie, Helene Cardario.
Back row: Luana Castelli, Elisabetta Pasqualin, Nadja Noack-Barbara, Jennifer Mac Millan Johnson, Alessandra Taverna Perulli, France Thierard, Alessandra Zoppi, Peggy Reimer, Bianca Arrivabene.
photograph by Manfredi Bellati

Palazzo Labia - A detail of the Giambattista Tiepolo frescos





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