DANCING WITH MYSELF, AT THE PUNTA DELLA DOGANA

April 15th, 2018
DANCING WITH MYSELF
Punta della Dogana, Venice
April 8th – December 16th, 2018
Opening hours: h.10 am – 7 pmClosed on Tuesdays 

The new exhibit “Dancing with myself” is curated by Martin Bethenod and Florian Ebner, in collaboration with the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany. 
The Punta della Dogana hosts 140 artworks, of which 100 are part of François Pinault private collection, while the others are owned by the museum Folkwang, but not permanently displayed there.
The exhibit is focused on a major theme, the self-portrait, but not as the subject of the artist’s work.  Visitors are shown the way the image and the body of the artist have been used as a material for different purposes than the celebration of the self.
In order to achieve this goal, 33 artists used variety of mediums and artistic languages, going through generations, experiences and cultures from the 1970’s to nowadays.
The curators identified four relevant themes, such as Melancholia, play of identities, political autobiographies, and existential questioning, which are developed through a lot of photographs, sculptures, paintings and a few videos.
The large four pictures painted by Rudolf Stingel need the tall walls of the ground level and a lot of room around to be fully appreciated by visitors. In 2013 Stingel had a solo exhibit at Palazzo Grassi, which was entirely covered with oriental style carpets, achieving a colorful and protective mood.
Now his works express the fugitive quality of time as he appears young in his military ID photo, and then older in a pensive attitude, looking downward, absorbed in his deep thoughts.
The 2012 self portrait -“Untitled”- was laid down on the floor and then stained with paint, sand, dirt, which reflected a different existential condition.
The concept of memory and the destructive power of time are expressed in the portrait of Urs Fischer, a Swiss artist, which is totally made of wax, burning slowly until it will melt on the floor. Fortunately Fischer made lots of replicas that will replace the worn out piece….  
The ambiguity of identity is the core of Cindy Sherman’s pictures where she assumes a variety of female roles, and forces us to meditate on the idea of identity as a construct.
Her poses are enhanced and exaggerated, so that they look like social stereotypes that change according to the decades. 
The realistic way Damien Hirst represented himself in a bronze sculpture, is denied by the lack of the arms, like an archeological find, and the coral pieces covering the whole right side of the body.
Reality and immortality, and the interplay between past and present make this artwork quite emblematic.
In the video of the British artist Steve McQueen, the body is used to break with social obligations, taboos and racial conventions.
He appears in different overlapped postures, unpleasant, voyeuristic, erotic, exhilarating, and revolves around extreme physicality.
The gay British couple Gilbert & George is not concerned with gender issues, as you can see in the large photographs that evoke stained glass windows.  
All together they look like an illustrated book about human condition, playful and based on memories, with no hierarchies between the sublime and the banal, the infinitely small and infinitely big.
More dramatic, poetic and metaphoric, is the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who opens the exhibit. “Untitled” (blood) consists of a curtain made of plastic beads stretched across the whole hall on the ground floor, reminding the different types of blood cells.
Visitors are invited to walk through it and share for a moment his feelings about human condition, which in his case was dramatically affected by Aids: a kind of ceremony of empathy, and tenderness. 
We warmly suggest you to join the show which will help you discover the multi faceted expressions of the self and its relationship with the present world.
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