The Venice Show
August 28, 2020 - October 31, 2020
ALMA ZEVI Venice
San Marco 3357 (Salizzada San Samuele)
San Marco 3208 (Salizzada Malipiero)
Opening: 28 August, 4 - 8 PM
The exhibition includes works by: Marcantonio Brandolini d'Adda, Heidi Bucher, Simone Carraro, Juliana Cerqueira Leite, Tereza Cervenova, Charlap Hyman & Herrero, Michael Craig-Martin, Andrew Huston, Bice Lazzari, Katy Stubbs and Joe Tilson.
ALMA ZEVI is proud to reopen the gallery with The Venice Show, an exhibition with the city at its core. This show is a celebration of the enormous potential existing within Venice; both in terms of homegrown talent as well as the magnetism which brings artists working today back to the city time and time again. This magnetism is conveyed through a varied, multi-generational selection of artists; ranging from the emerging to established and including both Venetians as well as international figures. On the occasion of this exhibition, ALMA ZEVI has doubled its size by extending the show into the nearby gallery space of Salizzada Malipiero, San Marco 3208, previously used for the exhibition Ouvrez-Moi by Charlap Hyman & Herrero in 2019.
The youngest artist in the show is a recent graduate of Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, Simone Carraro, who has created a commissioned piece on the occasion of this exhibition. The painting is based on the ecosystem of the Venetian Lagoon, creating an original and lively aesthetic born of researched scientific findings. The combination of traditional imagery with a critique on the fragile state of Venice’s environment is an apt metaphor for the city’s position as a place where the ancient and the contemporary must co-exist together in harmony.
A number of the artists represented by the gallery are also included; in this context, showcasing work made during artist residencies in Venice. This is a fundamental part of the gallery programming and ethos – inviting several international artists per year to come to the city and respond to their surroundings. These include Juliana Cerqueira Leite, who lives between New York and Sao Paulo. Cerqueira Leite was amongst the first ALMA ZEVI artists in residence in Venice in 2017. The artist spent much of her time here walking through the city - making frottages (rubbings) of different historical and architectural surfaces such as doors, floors, windows, railings and more. This led to an important body of work which the artist has continued throughout her practice.
Katy Stubbs, a South African-British artist working with ceramics, completed her residency in Venice in Spring 2019. Stubbs made a number of exquisitely crafted, witty pieces, many of which were influenced by Old Master paintings that she studied in the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Her Insect Vase is exhibited here; a characteristic example of Stubbs’s rendering of both Classical Antiquity and the natural world. The artist comments, ‘The insects were because I was right next to the little garden while making the piece and in the boat yard (Arsenale) there were lots of little bugs and spiders. I like how insects have many different meanings to different people.’ Stubbs used for the first time a granular clay which is local to Italy but unavailable in London, where she is based. The residency therefore provided her with not just a wealth of new visual references, but also the chance to develop new techniques and material variations.
The Slovak artist Tereza Cervenova was in residency in Autumn 2019. A young photographer living and working in London, Cervenova captured the quiet, poetic snippets of life in Venice. With her gentle yet direct lens, the artist pierces into the heart of a city that is full of surprises away from the tourist trail. The work she made during her residency simultaneously retains the mystery and inserts the human presence within the city as a questioning, curious gaze. Shown in the gallery for the first time, the photographs in the exhibition also explore the potential that local buildings have in terms of abstract language; presenting well-known sites such as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Palazzo Grassi (both very close to ALMA ZEVI) in an entirely new and unexpected way.
ALMA ZEVI is proud to include sculptures by Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda, a Venetian artist working with Murano glass. He has developed a revolutionary technique and practice that takes a fresh perspective on the place of glass in contemporary art. These objects, which are described as vessels, surprise visitors with the vivacity of their colouring and their unexpected compositions; both of which remain at the core of artist’s innovative approach to working with this medium. Additionally, the artist will be debuting a new glass sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the exhibition space.
Shown for the first time in the gallery is Andrew Huston, an adopted Venetian and a painter. He established his studio in Venice in 2017 after 20 years of living and working in New York City. The influence of Venice continues to seep into his work in recognisable yet subtle ways. These include the silhouetted, abstracted forms of Venetian round glass windows, fragments of traditional boats and elements of gold leaf. All of these can be identified in the artist’s thoughtful and distinctive palette used for the majestic painting selected for this exhibition.
Another important recent addition to Venice is Michael Craig-Martin. The Irish-born conceptual artist, who moved from America to London in 1966, has lived partially in Venice since 2017. ALMA ZEVI is proud to present a new painting that has never exhibited before. The piece itself Untitled (watch fragment turquoise) encapsulates several key themes and characteristics in the artist’s work, where everyday objects are transformed by a precise, linear aesthetic. Craig-Martin’s depiction of a wristwatch is an apt commentary on the current world situation, which many feel to be in a state of limbo and frozen in time. With both typical energy and restraint, the artist encourages viewers to contemplate the meaning of the partially obscured watch face in the context of our own experience of time passing.
Another stalwart of the British art scene who has lived between Venice and the UK for many years is Joe Tilson. Tilson, who turned 90 last year, is one of the leading figures of British Pop Art. Tilson’s relationship with Italy began in 1955 when he won the Prix de Rome. His association with Venice, and particular the Biennale, began in 1964 when he exhibited in the British Pavilion. The piece included is part of Tilson’s Stones of Venice series, which features his iconic reinterpretation of Venice’s architectural features in the bright colours which have dominated his work over the past few decades. Highlighting a specifically Venetian vernacular style – including tile mosaics and religious symbolism – these paintings can be interpreted as a joyful portrait and celebration of the city.
Venice’s status as an important international hub for contemporary art world is partly due to the reputation of the Biennale. With this in mind, ALMA ZEVI has included two drawings by the seminal Swiss artist Heidi Bucher which were both conceived as a proposal for a project for the Venice Biennale of 1990. This unrealised sculptural concept consists of three delineated architectural structures, and relates to Bucher’s Flying Skinroom, an important work from 1988 where the latex cast of a building is ‘freed’ from both its physical and psychological constraints. Bucher’s work was latterly included in the 57th Venice Biennale of 2017.
Continuing the topic of the Biennale, the gallery is delighted to show for the first time the work of Bice Lazzari, arguably the most important female Venetian artist of the 20th Century. Lazzari was born in Venice in 1900 and studied music at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello in Venice, before going to art school in the city (Accademia di Belle Arti). Her work was included in the 19th Biennale of 1934. Lazzari had close ties with Carlo Scarpa and Gio Ponti, with whom she often collaborated with on decorative commissions. Her work was extremely radical; combining great beauty with a remarkably pared down, minimal aesthetic that linked her passion for music with that of architecture, modernism and abstraction.
Representing ALMA ZEVI’s mission to show installations and site-specific works, the New York and Los Angeles-based design duo Charlap Hyman & Herrero have created a fabric curtain across part of the gallery window. Originally conceived for their exhibition at the gallery in 2019, the fabric consists of an intricate pattern of snails, pearls and interlocking ribbons. The designers took inspiration from multiple sources in Italy; specifically, the delicate smokey blue of Renaissance drawing paper and Piero Portaluppi’s majestic arch in Milan, built between 1926-1930 in the Palazzo della Società Buonarroti-Carpaccio-Giotto
This exhibition is a celebration of Venice as both an unique historical place and a fertile ground for new thinking. The areahas endured many challenges in recent years; therefore it is an essential part of ALMA ZEVI’s ethos to highlight the extraordinary contributions that many artists are making to the vibrant cultural fabric of the city.