Una mostra di opere della Pinault Collection
April 2, 2023, – November 26, 2023
Curated by Emma Lavigne, General Director of Pinault Collection, and Bruno Racine, Director and CEO of Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana
The word "icon" has two meanings: its Greek etymology refers to the concepts of "image" and "likeness," while its general use generally refers to religious painting. In recent times, the term has been associated with the idea of a model, an emblematic figure. The image – its ability to represent a presence, between appearance and disappearance, shadow and light, to depict a physical space and generate an empathic emotion with visitors – is at the center of this exhibition conceived for the exhibition spaces of Punta della Dogana and the specific Venetian context, constantly enriched by the endless dialogue between East and West.
The icon – a vector of the transition to another world and other states of consciousness (contemplation, meditation) – refers to a transcendental reality with the power to actualize the presence of the invisible, creating an emotional or aesthetic and spiritual dazzlement. These are iconostases, devices that hide the officiants of worship behind a wall of images, like a door to the divine world. They are works that generate spaces as many pauses or places of contemplation in the era of image saturation and their undue appropriation. Living paintings, rituals, and everything that makes the image a space of relationship between human beings and transcends them constitute the heart of the reflection proposed by the exhibition.
Quoting Marie-José Mondzain, who, in her philosophical reflection dedicated to the Russian filmmaker Andrej Tarkovskij, emphasizes how the director of the film Andrej Rublëv, through his cinematic poetics, "tears the icon from the Church and associates the adventure of the gaze with the constitution of a new assembly." The works gathered invite, through the exploration of the meaning of the image itself, to a sharing of what is visible.
"Icônes" is a thematic exhibition that brings together works from the Pinault Collection created by artists Josef Albers, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Maurizio Cattelan, Étienne Chambaud, Edith Dekyndt, Theaster Gates, David Hammons, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Kimsooja, James Lee Byars, Francesco Lo Savio, Sherrie Levine, Agnes Martin, Paulo Nazareth, Camille Norment, Roman Opalka, Lygia Pape, Michel Parmentier, Philippe Parreno, Robert Ryman, Dayanita Singh, Rudolf Stingel, Danh Vo, and Chen Zhen.
Between figuration and abstraction, the exhibition invokes all facets of the image in the artistic context – painting, video, sound, installation, performance – through a selection of emblematic works from the Pinault Collection and unpublished dialogues between artists who are particularly dear to them (David Hammons/Agnes Martin; Danh Vo/Rudolf Stingel; Sherrie Levine/On Kawara...). The exhibition aims to represent both the fragility and the power of images and their polysemic nature: the works become appearances, illuminations, revelations, up to transfiguration.