To mark the 2013 Venice Art Biennale, the new collective exhibition at Palazzo Grassi presents works by 34 artists from the Pinault Collection. Essays and conversations, images, works and installation views.
“Whereas, in the 19th century, the aim of art was to represent truth through beauty and equilibrium, from the late 20th century up to the present, art has tried to strike a balance between extremes- abstraction and surrealism, void and chaos, denial and entertainment, “high” and “low”. From the artistic point of view, we live in an age of global pluralism. Today, the four main forms of expression – painting, sculpture, installation and performance – are all alchemized by the prima materia of the media. No longer are they only the fundamental substance of the cinema, video or the Internet: they constitute a tool to promote global dissemination and discussion”.
Medieval texts on alchemy offer hundreds of different descriptions and definitions of the concept of prima materia, the original substance which distinguishes and, together, comprises earth, fire, air and water. The definitions of this medium, which comprises all the elements, vary according to people’s cultural perspective or personal identity. There are 80 works on display, constituting a forum of some of the most emblematic artistic genres, from Mono-ha to Arte Povera, with masterpieces by Llyn Foulkes, Mark Grotjahn and Marlene Dumas. There is also an impressive series of installations by Diana Thater, and Ryan Trecartin & Lizzie Fitch. More than half of the artists and almost all of the artworks on display at this special collective exhibition are being shown in public for the first time.