For the 58th Venice Bienniale, many of the Palazzo’s hosted exhibitions just like a gallery, except...these structures are the grandest, old-world Italian architecture. You can read about my experience viewing the Helen Frankenthaler exhibition at Palazzo Grimini Here.
Palazzo Grassi is by far the most beautiful I visited out of Palazzo Grimini and Palazzo Cini, which makes sense that it’s one of two Palazzos that have been transformed into museums to host the Pinault Collection in Venice. If you’re not familiar with the Pinault’s - they own Kering, a portfolio of the most famous fashion companies like Gucci, and YSL in the world. They also have an incredible art collection.
"My sincere wish is that the contemporary art center, consisting of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, shall remain truly contemporary. This impetus is a matter of great importance for me but also for Venice, a city, which has always inspired the best of creativity." - François Pinault
Palazzo Grassi was renovated and rehabilitated by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando and opened as a museum in 2006.
About the Artist - Luc Tyumens
Luc Tuymans is a Belgian artist whose work explores history and our ability to ignore it. Many of his works are about World War II.
“Tuymans is a figurative painter who doubts whether visual representations can ever be truthful.” - Hyperallergic
“Curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with the artist (Mortsel, Belgium, 1958), the show is entitled ‘La Pelle’, after Curzio Malaparte’s 1949 novel. It includes over 80 works from the Pinault Collection, international museums and private collections, and focuses on the artist’s paintings from 1986 to today.” (source)
“His works deal with questions connected to the past and to more recent history and address subjects of our daily lives through a set of images borrowed from the private and public spheres – the press, television, the Internet.” (source)
“This is a dark time, people are becoming more and more stupid, insanely stupid. Think of England, it’s no longer an empire although the English still think it is, which is basically insanity. Think about Brexit, about this narcissistic idiot Trump, the whole constellation of the West is in dire straits.” In the face of this, it is important to study not just our history—“people forget, that’s one thing,” - Luc Tuymans (source)
“The artist renders these images by dissolving them in an unusual and rarefied light; the slight anxiety that emanates from them is able to trigger – according to the artist himself – an ‘authentic forgery’ of reality.” (source)
I love how you can see how Tuymans has tested out different colors on the side of the canvas above.
Another crazy fact about Tuyman’s work is that his paintings are completed in one day.
“Because my attention span doesn’t go further than one day” - Luc Tuymans (source)
“My wife and I were in New York during 9/11. We were in a hotel room… the planes going in [to the towers]… then the people jumping out [of the World Trade Center], it was horrific…so I was trying to think ‘What could be the counterpoint to this? Something idyllic?’ And that’s when I came up with this banal image of this fruit and still life which is the lowest common denominator in [our] painting [tradition]. It is actually quite a political painting.” The canvas, inspired by Cézanne, is a powerful statement: we respond to terrorism by reasserting our values and our cultural and artistic traditions. In the end then, art may help save us.” - Luc Tuymans (source)
The exhibit was on view from 24/03/2019 - 06/01/2020.
To see Tuymans discuss some of the works see the video below.