The project consists of installations, film, sculpture and photography, which together form one large single work: Isole. Each individual section has its own precise logic; however, its full vitality is captured when it is seen in relation to the spirit of the overall project. The work has been made possible by collaboration between the Musei Civici di Venezia, the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana and the Museo Storico Navale. It is curated by Alice Rubbini, in collaboration with Michela Rizzo.
Isole speaks of the artist himself and of the spaces he has used here. An important theme is that of Venice, of the continuity between past and present, of the city’s hidden vitality – a far cry from the usual vulgar stereotypes of the place.This is an ambitious work that has required a long time in gestation and creation.
As elegant as Venice itself, the work’s various sections touch upon the questions of spirit and body, of states of mind and states of soul. Venice is, therefore, no mere container for events and works imported from outside. It is a workshop for creation and the recipient of that creation – a process that envisages the establishment of harmony even where there is the most striking dissonance.
An autobiographical vision of different states of spirit and matter, the project reflects what has been an essential part of the poetics of Maurizio Pellegrin since 1990: the creation of artistic works for specific spaces.
From the ceiling hangs a six-armed structure, rather similar to those wooden clothes-horses used in Pennsylvania. Under each arm hangs a series of objects, with threads linking each arm of the structure. In all different shades of white, the objects are direct or indirect references to textiles and to the implements used in making clothes, fabrics and thread. They are the symbols of that everyday life which, elevated to a cult of body and mind, transforms a simple object into a fetish and a resonant image. Moving beyond the field of mere utility, the objects become a sort of second body that expresses our lives, that becomes the social and cultural measure of our existence. The white used in this work restrains the energies employed in making and doing. But though it holds these forces within a moment of mediation, this state of immobility is contradicted by the mobility of the large circular structure in metal. The space of the work becomes the locus of an event. The very absence of Time crystallises and distils Time’s dynamic nature; it allows the visitor both to look inward and to cast a wider gaze upon the world around him.
The various sections are entitled:
Museo Correr: The Third Space (installation of period paintings combined with thread and textiles)
Doge’s Palace, Sala dei Cuoi and Sala della Quarantia dei Criminali: Impermanence and Transmigration (installation and film)
Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana: Traces of Being and Transformation, between Decline and the New State (installations with objects and sculpture)
Ca’ Rezzonico: Memory and Permanence (installation with photographs)
Ca’ Pesaro, International Gallery of Modern Art: Transit and Flow (fragmentary composition with objects and other components; )
Museo d’Arte Orientale: Multiplication of Being (installation)
Museo Storico Navale: Obsessions of Being (installation and film)