A VERY LIGHT ART
Mario Airò / Stefano Arienti / Cerith Wyn Evans / Flavio Favelli / Luigi Ontani / Gabriel Orozco / Heimo Zobernig
From May 31st to November 24th 2013
Ca’ Rezzonico, Museum of 18th century Venice
A Very Light Art is an exhibition about the interface between art and the everyday objects. It is a reflection about design, and a study of the historic role of artists in relation to the built environment. The exhibition is located in the historic environs of the Ca’ Rezzonico, museum of 18th century Venice and showcases the work of artists who master space and material in relation to context.
Dangling, hanging, lighting – the contributions of seven artists are neither adornment nor addition to their stately context, but function in seamless continuation of ancient duties. The unique aspect of all the works selected – lighting structures and mobiles – is their emphasis on craftsmanship and technical finesse, almost all of them the product of high Italian artistry.
Mario Airò has proposed a lighting fixture using neon, a desk he has designed for Adele-C, in Milan, and a standing flower vase created with one of the finest coppersmiths in Italy, Luigi Barato. Each object reveals its usefulness, yet can stand alone as a sculpture.
Stefano Arienti has proposed a small forest of trees composed of branches, with votive candles hanging from them. These are installed in one of the regal drawing rooms of the Ca’ Rezzonico, as lamp fixtures, in deliberate contrast to the noble palazzo.
Flavio Favelli is known for his magical transformations of mundane household objects, and their recomposition into sculptures of majesty and poetry. Gilded frames carrying velvet curtains, regal mirrors with surfaces washed away, or recomposed chandeliers turned from elements that are kitsch, into objects of beauty and grandeur. A major chandelier named Violet Murano is installed at the Grand Canal entrance of the Museo Ca’ Rezzonico.
Luigi Ontani, grand master of the italian art scene, offers his signature inversion of names and myths, in a series of works that seem contrived specifically for the Ca’ Rezzonico, but in fact, predate the exhibition. Ontani’s principle work is the chandelier Mayadusa, his first such glass lamp, realized in 1988 with the glassblower Maestro Silvano Signoretto. In the same room, will be exhibited Nel Regno del Ragno Eggoista, a large mirror depicting a spider weaving its web, and the vase Vanitaso, both accompanied by preparatory watercolors.
Gabriel Orozco is featured in the selection of two marvelous mobiles, enormous and ultra-light contraptions fabricated from hundreds of feathers. One mobile is in white feathers, the other, a cloud of light brown. His easy play nonethleless stems from a deep knowledge of sculpture and materials, as well as predecessors from Calder to Mirò.
Cerith Wyn Evans has elected to rewire the famous Ca’ Rezzonico chandelier, a marvelous work of art fabricated in the second half of the XVIII century. The chandelier, structured in the form of a “pagoda” in white glass with polychromy ornamento, was conceived and produced by Giuseppe Briati in Murano. Evans has often used readymade lighting fixtures, and here too utilizes a suite of music known for its elegiac qualities, and placing under it one glass chrysanthemum produced especially for the occasion of the exhibition. The chandelier is meant to flicker to the tune of the music. A subtle and poetic “détournement” of history, capturing the melancholy that is unique to Venice.
Heimo Zobernig agreed to create a specially produced light object, a lamp that does not shed light so much as attract attention for its rare beauty. It is an object that is the largest glass size that can be blown in Murano, and has been produced in ruby red spheres, in a little edition.
In collaboration with Università IUAV di Venezia
Scientific Coordination Gabriella Belli
Curated by Cornelia Lauf
Ideation and organization Caterina Tognon