press release

A project presented at Giorgio Cini Foundation by Fondazione Prada on occasion of the 51st Venice International Art Exhibition 2005

The Fondazione Prada presents, on the occasion of the 51st Venice International Art Exhibition 2005, at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the project entitled Trilogia della Morte (Trilogy of Death) by Francesco Vezzoli (Brescia, 1971), curated by Germano Celant.

Both works are conceived by the artist as further exploration of the principal artistic techniques used in his works: video and embroidery. The unifying element in this unconventional combination is constituted by Vezzoli’s passion for the cinema and legendary movie stars. Through his very original association of embroidery – an activity hitherto regarded as a decorative art and predominantly a female preserve – with the use of a modern form of expression like video, the artist creates an explosive visual mixture in which show business icons, rub shoulders with jet-setters, film directors, artists and photographers and fashion designers.

The two installations presented at Giorgio Cini Foundation, that make up the work, take their inspiration from a pair of films by the Italian director and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The first installation is a reconstruction of an old-fashioned movie theatre where a film entitled Comizi di Non Amore (Non-Love Meetings, 2004, dvd, 63’ 50”) is shown in continuous projection. Produced exclusively for the Fondazione Prada, the film has as its setting a television studio, and evokes the format of such programs as Blind Date. Here, the public, prompted by the show’s hostess, is invited to evaluate couples of candidates of different social backgrounds and ages, as they come together before their eyes. The work is conceived as a sort of linguistic reinvention of Pasolini’s documentary Comizi d’Amore (Love Meetings) — in which, in 1964, the director travelled through Italy from north to south interviewing people of different social and cultural backgrounds about love and sex — and seeks to create a psychological territory in which the members of the public are persuaded to talk about themselves and their views on the couple and love relationships. What is different, though, is that while Pasolini focussed on the physical aspect and on sexuality, Vezzoli looks at the degeneration of culture, of the individual, and of sex, which is always based on a relationship of power, between dominator and slave, television and audience. Inspired by television shows, Comizi di Non Amore is a reality show structured and edited according to the most classical canons of popular television. Hosted by show-girl Ela Weber in a Rome television studio, the film was made with the contribution of sector professionals, from the director to the costume maker, producer, set designer, graphic designer, and musical composer, all of whom were selected from among the most successful in the field. The female figures who are courted by the suitors to make the odd couples are actresses from the film world, ranging from Buñuel to Pasolini, MTV, and soap operas. Their participation is the fruit of a selection of female icons seen through the movie camera that includes Catherine Deneuve, who in Buñuel’s Belle de jour played a woman who does embroidery and has extraordinary erotic adventures, Antonella Lualdi, interviewed by Pasolini in Comizi d’Amore, Marianne Faithful, an icon of wild rock, Terry Schiavo, a former talk-show host and mass-media stereotype, and, finally, Jeanne Moreau, the heroine of François Truffaut’s Jules e Jim (1961), and the actress playing Lysiane in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle de Brest (1982), an unforgettable figure in the history of film.

The second installation of the Trilogy of Death is entitled Le 120 sedute di Sodoma (The 120 Seats of Sodom), and evokes Pasolini’s film Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (The 120 Days of Sodom, 1975). It is made up of 120 black Argyle chairs designed in 1904 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with the seats embroidered, and a tapestry showing La fine di Canterbury (The End of Canterbury), woven according to antique tradition and showing erotic scenes taken from other films by the poet and artist. This work will be on display during the initial period of the Venice exhibition, but in the closing phase a tapestry representing La fine di Edipo Re (The End of Oedipus Rex) will replace it. As a whole, the work maintains a dramatic as well as ironic dialogue with the present and Pasolini’s views on fascism and consumer society.

Francesco Vezzoli. Trilogia della Morte (Trilogy of Death) exhibition curated by Germano Celant


only in german

Francesco Vezzoli. Trilogia della Morte (Trilogy of Death)
Kurator: Germano Celant

09.06.05 - 24.06.05 Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venedig
31.08.05 - 08.09.05 Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venedig