press release


The Musei Civici Veneziani and Axel Vervoordt present a unique exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny

Venice, 9th June – 7th October 2007 The Musei Civici Veneziani, the City of Venice and Axel Vervoordt present ARTEMPO Where Time Becomes Art It examines the relationship between art, time and the power of display, representing a breadth of cultures and periods and featuring over 300 objects ranging from rare archaeological materials to contemporary installations. The work of over 80 artists will include Francis Bacon, Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Giacometti, James Turell, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. The work on show will be sourced from the private collection of Axel Vervoordt, from the Musei Civici Veneziani, from other public and private collections all over the world and directly from the artists themselves.

The idea of the exhibition was conceived by Mattijs Visser, Head of Exhibitions, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf and Axel Vervoordt, Antique and Art collector and designer from Antwerp. Artempo is organized by Musei Civici Veneziani and Axel Vevoordt and curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, international curator and former director of Centre Georges Pompidou, Giandomenico Romanelli, Director of the Musei Civici Veneziani and Mattijs Visser with Daniela Ferretti, exhibition designer, Musei Civici Veneziani.

Artempo will be housed in the Venetian-Gothic Palazzo Fortuny, the former home, studio, showroom and think tank of Mariano Fortuny Set across the entire building, it is hoped that this exhibition will re-establish the Palazzo as ‘laboratory of ideas’, sharing both the exhibition and living spaces with the public for the very first time. By staging Artempo in an intimate setting, Vervoordt and the curatorial team hope to highlight the interplay between everyday objects and works of art derived from every phase of artistic evolution thereby further adding to the visual impact of the show.

Artempo will include several specially commissioned exhibition installations: El Anatsui (Ghana) will create a tapestry of empty tins to cover the Palazzo's façade, Loris Cecchini (Italy) will create a tree out of reflectors on an additional façade, Anish Kapoor (India) will make a 12-metre mirrored wall. New works and installations will be provided by Berlinde De Bruyckere (Belgium), Klaus Münch (Italy), Tatsuo Miyajima (Japan), Jorge Molder (Portugal), Thomas Schütte (Germany), Dominique Stroobant (Italy), Shiro Tsujimura (Japan), James Turrell (USA).

The catalogue will be a richly illustrated book published to accompany this exhibition. It will include a preface by philosopher Massimo Cacciari, currently Mayor of Venice and essays by Artempo curators Giandomenico Romanelli, Jean-Hubert Martin and Mattijs Visser, and Norbert Jocks, Art Critic and Art Historian and Eddi de Wolf, Professor and researcher, Universiteit Antwerpen and approx. 300 full-colour pictures. The catalogue will be publishing in English and Italian. The hardcover version additionally contains photographs of the installations in the Palazzo Fortuny, and a complete list of works. The book is being published by MER, in collaboration with Walter König Verlag of Düsseldorf.

The Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf has also contributed its support to this exhibition.

Contributing Artists

Marina Abramovic, Antonin Artaud, Francis Bacon, Erzsébet Baerveldt, Hans Bellmer, Alighiero Boetti, Christian Boltanski, Jonathan Borofsky, Louise Bourgeois, Peter Buggenhout, Alberto Burri, Cai Guo-Qiang, Tony Cragg, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Giorgio De Chirico, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Jan Fabre, Robert Filliou, Fischli & Weiss, Lucio Fontana, Mariano Fortuny, Alberto Giacometti, On Kawara, William Kentridge, Kimsooja, Yves Klein, Bertrand Lavier, Man Ray, Piero Manzoni, Marisa Merz, Sabrina Mezzaqui, Jorge Molder, Saburo Murakami, Roman Opalka, Orlan, Nam June Paik, Pablo Picasso, Otto Piene, Markus Raetz, Medardo Rosso, Claude Rutault, Richard Serra, Shozo Shimamoto, Fujiko Shiraga, Kazuo Shiraga, Antoni Tápies, Gunther Uecker, Emilio Vedova, Jef Verheyen, Andy Warhol, Adolfo Wildt,

In situ installations by El Anatsui, Loris Cecchini, Anish Kapoor, Tatsuo Miyajima, Klaus Münch, Thomas Schütte, Dominique Stroobant, Shiro Tsujimura, James Turrell and opening performances by Yael Davids and Sadamasa Motonaga.

CURATORS ?The internationally renowned museum director and exhibition curator Jean-Hubert Martin (Strasbourg, °1944) was from 2000 till 2006 the general director of Museum kunst palast in Düsseldorf.  He was director of the Kunsthalle in Bern from 1982 to 1985 en of the Musée National de l’Art Moderne in Paris (Centre Georges Pompidou) from 1987 till 1990. Martin realised several important exhibitions such as Magiciens de la Terre, Africa Remix and the Biennale de Lyon 200l From 1991-1995, Martin was Artistic Director of the Chateau d’Oiron,.

Giandomenico Romanelli (Venezia, °1945) is the Musei Civici Veneziani General Director and is in head of cultural production of the City of Venice. Professor at Ca’ Foscari University he is also President of the scientific committee of Trento’s Museums. He published many books and essays about art and architecture and organized hundreds of exhibitions on art and architecture in Venice, in Italy and all over the word.

Artempo was conceived of and will be produced in collaboration with Axel Vervoordt (Antwerp, °1947). Vervoordt considers himself an eclectic collector, who treasures the timeless and disdains the trendy. Vervoordt’s taste spans centuries, continents and economic strata from Sung jades to Lucio Fontana’s Spatialist works, from pre-Columbian figures to elaborate baroque fantasies by Daniel Marot.  All objects, regardless of their origin and value, are infused with a timeless, universal beauty and an intrinsic purity that keep their contemporary relevance. In 2004 he has organized, among others, an exhibition about the Belgian ZERO-artist Jef Verheyen in Kanaal, Wijnegem (Belgium).

Mattijs Visser (°Den Haag, 1958) is Head of Exhibitions for the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf Germany. He recently organised the travelling show Africa Remix, the international ZERO show and the highly acclaimed exhibition Slow Art / Slow Life in which contemporary and performance art met with classical art. Mattijs Visser has been producing since 1984 exhibitions, installations, performances and special projects with artists as Ilya Kabakov, Jan Fabre, Robert Wilson, Kimsooja, Laurie Anderson, Wim Delvoye and Tino Segal. ? Exhibition Concept Notes

THERE IS NO PAST OR FUTURE IN ART.                          ?(Pablo Picasso)

How much ‘time’ has passed between a Cycladic fertility symbol, a fabric designed by Mariano Fortuny and a mirror by Anish Kapoor? While museums and exhibits increasingly direct their focus on particular periods, styles or artists, we are living in a global society, surrounded by ‘timeless’ ideas and objects. ARTEMPO aims to explore the universal, timeless language of art.

TIMELESS?If, as the Greek philosopher Zeno claimed, time does not exist, then there is no doubt that the timelessness represented in this exhibition by objects and works of art from a variety of cultures and eras does exist: a mask by the Italian artist Marisa Merz alongside three faces by Picasso next to a weathered Neolithic stone face, in addition to a simple, oft-repaired old vase or dust dancing in the sunlight by Sabrina Mezzaqui.

NUMBERS / STARS The most obvious choices for a subject like ‘time’ include On Kawara’s date paintings, the number-filled paintings by Roman Opalka and the installations by Tatsuo Miyajima, which reduce ‘time’ to digital numbers. Objects from ancient and distant cultures also fit into this theme: texts containing a thousand prayers, or astronomical instruments. An installation by James Turrell, who uses light to link time and distance, the celestial photographs by Thomas Ruff and Marina Abramovic’s amethyst geodes also represent the infinite quality of ‘time’ and space.

DESTRUCTION / CONSTRUCTION One important aspect of ‘time’ is the fact that it leaves traces, adding things or taking them away; not only does the passage of ‘time’ break things down, ‘time’ also creates. For this reason, an artist like Lucio Fontana has a central role in this exhibition with his Concetto spaziale, which reveals sharp slashes through the canvas. He tried using destruction to create something new, to reach an unknown dimension. After World War II, destruction became an important tool for other artists like Alberto Burri, Shozo Shimamoto, Günter Uecker, Yves Klein and Arman. Other works that fall into this category are a seldom-exhibited broken mirror by Marcel Duchamp and an oxidation of piss painting by Andy Warhol, as well as the work of the Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who draws with exploding fireworks, and of the Flemish artist Peter Buggenhout, who makes strange dust objects from household junk. The fear of loss plays an important role here.? ? VANITAS / NATURE MORTE We see especially that transience is a part of life in the 17th-century Vanitas and Nature Morte paintings, which aim to remind us of life’s inevitable passage with images of beautiful flowers, fruits and animals. The collection of fantasy objects from natural history museums belongs in this category, as do Jan Fabre’s sculptures made of beetles. Images of death or working with dead people or animals (or their skeletons) are not only a clear reaction to a consciousness of ‘time’; they also allow us to escape ‘time’.

DECONSTRUCTION / DEFORMATION Even deconstructing the human body is a permissible technique. While Berlinde De Bruyckere, Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon created new forms by distorting the human body and Hans Bellmer built disturbing dolls, Orlan actually deforms her own body through surgery. Antonin Artaud made a dance of death in his film and Kazuo Shiraga ‘dances’ in red paint, in memory of the blood of war victims. The absence of the body is primarily found in Yves Klein’s Anthropometries, in ritual objects from India and in the video showing Kimsooja standing silently on the bank of a river. Sexuality is also an important aspect of the topic of ‘time’: several ritual fertility objects are brought together with an ecstatic female face by Marlene Dumas and Louise Bourgeois’ double phalluses.

MARIANO FORTUNY Y MADRAZO?Born in Granada in 1871, Mariano Fortuny was himself the son of an artist and quickly found a place within the art and social world of Paris, the city in which he completed his studies as a painter. At eighteen he moved to Venice, where he frequented international artistic circles and could soon number such figures as Gabriele D’Annunzio, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Marchesa Casati and Prinz Fritz Hohenlohe-Waldenburg amongst his friends. ?A visit to Bayreuth and encounter with Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk [total work of art] had a profound effect upon him, and his interest shifted from painting to set design and stage lighting; his goal was to achieve total union of music, drama and visual presentation. At the beginning of the twentieth century he would design the sets for the Italian premiere of Tristan and Isolde at the Scala in Milan. At the same time, he began to develop his idea for the ‘cupola’ - that is, a system of stage-lighting that would use indirect, diffuse illumination to free set design from the restrictions of traditional lighting. ?The Paris theatre world (from Sarah Bernhardt to Adolphe Appia) was now showing an interest in his work, but it was only when he began to enjoy the patronage of the Comtesse de Bearn that Fortuny’s revolutionary set designs could be put into full effect: between 1903 and 1906 the countess’s private theatre was equipped with a fully updated ‘cupola’ system that provided for indirect lighting and ceiling projections of coloured skies and clouds. As a result of the fame this brought, Fortuny’s system was then produced in Berlin by AEG and adopted by major theatres throughout Europe. ?But Mariano Fortuny was now searching out new creative stimuli: he began to produce fabrics and printed textiles, in partnership with Henriette Nigrin, who would become his wife in 1924; together they created the plissé silk dress known as the Delphos which made Fortuny famous throughout the world. At this point he opened a factory on the Guidecca in Venice to produce his textiles, and opened shops in all the major capitals of Europe. At the same time he was also designing the decor and lighting for aristocratic homes and museums throughout Europe, receiving numerous titles and honours. Even in these years of intense activity there was no drop in the number of commissions he received for work in set and theatre design.? The 1930s would see Fortuny make other innovations - for example, “Tempera Fortuny”, coloured photographic paper - and work on the illumination of some of the great cycles of paintings to be seen in Venetian scuole (for example, Tintoretto’s work at the San Rocco and Capriccio’s at San Giorgio degli Schiavoni). Towards the end of the 1930s Mariano Fortuny retired to his magnificent home in the San Beneto district of Venice, where he once more took up painting and began to put together a record of his very varied career. He died in 1949, and is buried at Verano in Rome alongside his famous father, Mariano Fortuny y Marsal

THE PALAZZO FORTUNY IN VENICE?Once owned by the Pesaro family, this large Gothic palazzo in Campo San Beneto, was transformed by Mariano Fortuny into his own atelier of photography, stage-design, textile-design and painting. The building retains the rooms and structures created by Fortuny, together with tapestries and collections. The working environment of Mariano Fortuny is represented through precious wall-hangings, paintings, and the famous lamps – all objects that testify to the artist’s inspiration and still give count of his eclectic work and of his presence on the intellectual and artistic scene at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Fortuny Museum was donated to the city in 1956 by Henriette, Mariano's widow. The collections within the museum comprise an extensive number of pieces and materials which reflect the various fields investigated in the artist’s work. These are organised under certain specific headings: painting, light, photography, textiles and grand garments.

only in german

Axel Vervoordt Collection etc.
Konzeption: Mattijs Visser, Axel Vervoordt
Kuratoren: Jean-Hubert Martin, Giandomenico Romanelli, Mattijs Visser, Daniela Ferretti

mit Marina Abramovic, Antonin Artaud, Francis Bacon, Erzsebet Baerveldt, Hans Bellmer, Alighiero e Boetti, Christian Boltanski, Jonathan Borofsky, Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Peter Buggenhout, Alberto Burri, Cai Guo-Qiang, Loris Cecchini, Tony Cragg, Giorgio De Chirico, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Jan Fabre, Robert Filliou, Fischli / Weiss, Lucio Fontana, Mariano Fortuny, Alberto Giacometti, Anish Kapoor, On Kawara, William Kentridge, Kim Sooja, Yves Klein, Bertrand Lavier, Man Ray, Piero Manzoni, Marisa Merz, Sabrina Mezzaqui, Tatsuo Miyajima, Jorge Molder, Klaus Münch, Saburo Murakami, Roman Opalka, Orlan , Nam June Paik, Pablo Picasso, Otto Piene, Markus Raetz, Medardo Rosso, Claude Rutault, Thomas Schütte, Richard Serra, Shozo Shimamoto, Fujiko Shiraga, Kazuo Shiraga, Dominique Stroobant, Antoni Tàpies, Shiro Tsujimura, James Turrell, Günther Uecker, Emilio Vedova, Jef Verheyen, Andy Warhol, Adolfo Wildt, Tsuruko Yamazaki ...