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At Palazzo Grassi, a look at the world belonging to us
In a 16th century hall the ghosts of the new consumer society come to life. Fears, anxieties, terror and uncertainties, are shown with raw determination which makes us think. The world belongs to you like a warning whispered slowly, deeply. What remains is the false illusion that one can hope to change something else and maybe that is what the forty artists from all over the world exhibited here are saying...
<b>At Palazzo Grassi, a look at the world belonging to us.</b>

Published on Monday, June 6th, 2011

Many nationalities come together to collectively express a thought and a lot of feelings about the events of the last century, from the great devastations to the mass commodification, from the loss of identity to the overturning of natural landscapes. The world belongs to you, curated by Caro-line Bourgeois, is definitely a brand that clearly works on the plane of the emotions, bringing the viewer into a profound reflection on the state of things. Forty artists from China, South Africa, France, Japan, Italy, the United States and Russia have risen to the cause, bringing with them their wealth of experience. Palazzo Grassi provides the frame, serving as a backdrop to representations by providing neutral and specially-designed spaces to perfectly accommodate the works that revolve around the work Waiting by Sun Yuan(Pechinco, 1972) and Peng Yu(born 1974 in the province of Heilongjiang) and Thomas Houseago(Leeds, England, 1972 )’s L'Homme Presse placed outside. The first has the appearance of a huge vulture that embodies the threats and fears of death of the individual. The second is the representation of this metaphor in which a man can go forward despite everything, even when torn from within. Entering the building you are immediately struck by the work of Joana Vasconcelos(Paris, 1972) entitled Contamination which rises up to the second floor metaphorically embracing all nationalities. It is the guiding principle that unites all people on Earth, bringing vitality, joy and embodying the deeper need for simplicity and carefree fun. From the tangibility of a work to the cold, static, no longer editable Balloon Dog by Jeff Koons(York, Pennsylvania, 1955). It is another game that has lost all its connotations and is repudiated, expelled from the aluminum Grosse Geister by Thomas Schute(Oldenburg, Germany, 1954). Man can not look at himself, cannot go back, and aluminum is the material that forms the essence of this failure. Passing through the mezzanine one encounters two video installations by Francesco Vezzoli(Brescia, 1971). The first addresses the issue of democracy and the other is a kind of documentary on the life of the artist who pre-tends to be a celebrity from the entertainment world. It includes fake interviews and stories with anecdotes about his life, including scenes of explicit sex, clearly noting Vezzoli’s purpose to show all the squalor, the mediocrity and the falsity of a world based on appearance.
Giuseppe Penone – Respirare l’ombra – 1998 – bronzo, oro – 185x90x165 cm – courtesy Penone e Palazzo Grassi – photo Orsenigo_Chemollo
Friedrich Kunath(Chemnitz, Germany, 1974) presents work in which the huge clown feet emerge from under a tent while a gear moves a tennis ball from behind to simulate the movement of the person. Kunath is also the author of two other works on the upper floors, the first of a two-meter tall a man dressed in an Hawaiian shirt with his head in half-sphere that contains a snowy mountain landscape, a character who like many in the New World finds false illusions. He embodies the difficulty of the average man to live in society that forces him to flee with his mind elsewhere. On the first floor, in a work by Farhad Moshiri(Shiraz, Iran, 1963), the disturbing writing Life is beautiful made of 1242 knives of various size, color and use emerges from the light-coloured wall. A sarcastic stance on life that reserves a dark side. Alsoudani Ahmed(Bagdad, Iraq, 1975) is the author of three works on canvas and charcoal made from bright colors which appear amidst an animated, frenzied crowd. The light colors, while other parts are left blank, indicating a latent hope, a positive outlook on certain aspects that make it understand the heinous nature to exorcise them. El Anatsui(Ghana, 1944) set out to strip the African culture of bottle caps, goods imported by the colonizers, to make a huge colored fabric woven from copper wire and David Hammons(Springfield, Illinois,1943) emphasized the African American culture by highlighting its special features. Positioned over huge drums are sleeping cats, meant to represent the vanity and presumption to reach high levels in the company of native Africans. A large painting of Mao's portrait made with incense and charcoal is the main work of Zhang Huan(An Yang City, China, 1965)'s series in which the reuse of poor materials relevant to the oriental culture adorn portraits, filling them with spirituality. Huang Yong Ping(1954, Xiamen)'s cave allows visitors to interact with and be part of the work. From one hole you can see pictures of ancestors of the caves sitting in meditation while bats fly around. The artist invites us to look at and to reflect on the representation of the oldest fear of ghosts or animals, traceable to the myth of Plato's cave. This is followed by a post-apocalyptic forest populated by Loris Gréaud(1979, Eaubonne, France) 36 trees, while Matthew Day Jackson(Panorama City, CA, 1974) presents seemingly semi-human creatures from other planets. The mass tourism that causes destruction of natural environments is very much simplified by the artificial palm Yto Barrada(Paris, 1971) while Adrian Ghenie(Baia Mare, Romania, 1977) returns to the nation's raw Soviet past. The same power of communication is shown in the paintings by Philippe Perrot(Paris,1967) in which he shows us, in spaces devoid of depth and perspective, scattered scenes of violence, cruelty and pain.

Philippe Perrot – Assèchement des zones humides – 2009 – olio e antisettici su tela – 65x81 cm – courtesy Concept – photo Fabrice Gousset

Sergey Bratkov(Kharkiv, Ukraine, 1960) calls for individual responsibility by submitting photos of child models and Boris Mikhailov(Kharkov, Ukraine, 1938) gives us an insight into the black and white of Soviet society which Sislej Xhafa(Peja, Kossovo, 1970) makes concrete with artificial legs. Zeng Fanzhi(Wuhang, China, 1964), with his oils creates a hidden light with intricate branches of dark woods made with double brushes from which emerges Nicholas Hlobo(Città del Capo, 1975)’s three-meter-long monster constructed with ready-made materials. Jang Jiechang(Foshan, Canton, China, 1956) comes to the rescue with an earthly paradise populated by women and animals in orgiastic scenes. Frédéric Bruly Bouabré(Zéprégühé, Ivory Coast, 1921) shows us, through the design of many cars with the flags of nations, how the whole world is united by its goods. Alighiero Boetti(Turin, 1940 - Rome, 1994) is represented in meditation in a life-size portrait standing on his head while water bathes his hot head. Life-size scenes of violence from films are presented by Urs Fischer(Zurich, 1973) and Jonathan Wateridge(Zambia, 1972) dematerializing objects that become meaningless. The family finds itself altered in the installation by Charles Ray(Chicago, 1953) when Sigmar Polke(Oels, 1941 – Colonia, 2010) builds a house with fake wood and potatoes. The air smells of tea in the room of Joseph Penone(Garessio, 1947) in the center there is a large artificial lung, a symbol of powerlessness. Takashi Murakami(Tokyo, 1962) focuses on the ephemeral, a virtuosity equal to that of Rudolf Stingel(Merano, Sud Tirolo, 1956) who uses decoration as an element in society. Death by inertia is represented by the reproduction of Gilbert(Bolzano, 1943) and George(Devon, 1942) by Maurizio Cattelan(Padova, 1960) while Ger van Elk(Amsterdam, 1941) highlights the frustration of the inability to communicate. In closing, Lee Ufan(Korea, 1936) returns us to a more spiritual dimension.

curated by erika prandi

from June 2nd to December 31st 2011
Il mondo vi appartiene
curated by Caroline Bourgeois
Palazzo Grassi
Campo San Samuele, 3231 – 30124 Venice
Entrance: full price € 15; reduced € 10
Info: tel. + 39 041 5231680; fax +39 041 5286218;;
reservations: 199139139


Reserved Reproduction