PARADOXES: A SERIES OF UNFORESEEABLE ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN CLASSIC AND CONTEMPORARY ART
Les Bourgeois de Calais in Venice
From January 31, 2015 to March 29, 2015
Ca’Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice
The 2015 exhibition season of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, under the academic direction of Gabriella Belli, opens at Ca’ Pesaro in the new “Spazio Dom Pérignon” with the second appointment of “Paradoxes”, a series of unusual encounters between young artists and works from the museum’s historic collection.
After the comparison between the Vicenza-born artist, Alberto Tadiello, and the work of Giulio Aristide Sartorio, which last October inaugurated the two extraordinary rooms on the second floor of the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna – restored thanks to the important contribution of the well-known French brand – attention now turns to an unusual review of Auguste Rodin’s famous work, “Les Bourgeois de Calais” (1901), by one of the most influential photographers on the international scene, Candida Höfer.
The exhibition presents a selection of photographs from her 2001 work, Douze-Twelve, commissioned by the Musée des Beaux-Arts et de la Dentelle of Calais, for which she photographed the 12 existing casts of Auguste Rodin’s Burghers of Calais located around the world.
After her works on the interiors of public and private spaces and external subjects in the “Zoologische Gärten” series, which all share and are noted for a striving for perfection in the details and an uncommon mastery and technique in handling and controlling light, the artist here offers a stimulating combination and a splendid encounter with one of the most famous works of art of all time, highlighting its intrinsic emotive tensions, formal and powerful expressiveness and extreme realism.
The large plaster sculpture exhibited by the French sculptor at the 1901 Biennale was purchased by the city of Venice for the collection of Ca’ Pesaro and today stands at the start of the new layout of the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna.
This well-known sculptural group, several times replicated by Rodin, has inspired a famous work by Candida Höfer – one of the leading exponents of the so-called Düsseldorf School – who has photographed 12 casts by Rodin in their installations in various international public collections.
The pristine harmony of Höfer’s photographic eye – an artist present at the 2003 Biennale – is highlighted by the serial nature of the works, thanks to her ability to capture and fix in an image of broad perspective depth all the dynamic and suffering expressiveness of the heroic burghers of Calais, who in 1346 opposed the siege of Edward III, King of England, and as modelled by Rodin in 1889.
The dialogue with the sculpture renders topical all the creative energy of the past, offering us replicas of a masterly scenographic impact, powerful yet restrained, thanks to the strict perspective standards typical of the German photographer.
The exhibition is curated by Gabriella Belli, with exhibition layout by Daniela Ferretti.
Curated by Gabriella Belli
Layout design: Daniela Ferretti