Monday, November 28, 2011

Tra: The Edge of Becoming

Venice.  Venezia.  Venexia.

Are there words to describe this absolutely breathtaking city?  No, in fact the whole time I was wandering aimlessly through the salizade and calle I kept on trying to find the perfect word.  As of yet, nothing.

I'm still uploading and editing my photos so I'll share a little something I wasn't able to photograph.  The Palazzo Fortuny was hosting a show curated by Axel Vervoordt, and as he was so admired by my former employer I felt it my obligation to see what his show 'Tra' was all about.  First off, the Palazzo Fortuny is a crumbling (quite literally) palazzo where the great Renaissance man, Mariano Fortuny, set up shop creating sculpture, textiles, photography, paintings, clothing, architectural renderings, etc etc.  The man was a genious, and honestly I knew close to nothing about him before going.

The first floor was darkly lit, displaying a few pieces of art contrasting greatly, a modern video installation together with an ancient Southeast Asian sculpture etc.  The room was in Vervoordt's traditional Wabi Sabi style, old floorboards, dark walls, minimally earthy.  I was starting to feel a little disappointed, as much as I love him.

A corner of Fortuny's workplace, not during this Installation but gorgeous nonetheless

What awaited me, though, on the second floor, Mariano's studio, completely forced those thoughts out of my ignorant brain.   Fortuny's studio is a thing of beauty in itself.  Imagine his gorgeous textiles covering every inch of wall, while the Eastern lamps he designed hang from the ceiling.  But to add on top of that, Axel has filled the room with art from every time, every corner of the Earth, placing them in these beautifully lit rooms in a way I think only Fortuny could have thought up.  A Flemish masterpiece of the 17th century, next to a Kandinsky, next to a dress designed by Fortuny, next to surgical table filled with enlarged crystal organs. I was breathless, my heart was palpitating, I was wishing I was there with someone who would feel my same sentiments, clutching their arm lest I faint. 

Chen Zhen, Crystal Landscape of Inner Body (2000)

Room after room beckoned my exploration and it was a pity the museum was closing as I could have spent more hours trying, attempting to take it all in.  The final floor (I skipped one, interesting yes, but not significant) was the attic, with exposed beams, and Fortuny's first studio, before he gradually took over the entire Palazzo.  Among the sculptures of Man Ray, there was a labyrinth in the middle designed by Vervoordt himself.  Each tiny alley led you to something different all in his unique, inimitable style.

So do you want to go?  I wish I could take you with me all again, but alas! the installation ended this Saturday along with the rest of the Biennale.  I recommend you buy the book, something I think I will have to do at a later time.  I'm so glad I thought to visit the show right before it closed, powers within must have guided me.


Anonymous said...

you had me at "enlarged crystal organs"

Jenna Schold said...

No need to have feared, the space seems designed for fainting!