Myself and I
24 November 2023 – 1 April 2024
Venice, Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art
Rooms Dom Pérignon
Curated by Elisabetta Barisoni
In collaboration with Marignana Arte and Galleria Michela Rizzo
The dialogue between modern art and contemporary voices finds an outlet at Ca’ Pesaro on the occasion of the major exhibition dedicated to the ‘Venetian portrait of the nineteenth century’ (Italian title: Il ritratto veneziano dell’Ottocento), featuring the contemporary perspective of a prominent interpreter of our era, Maurizio Pellegrin.
Born in Venice in 1956 and resident in New York, Pellegrin has divided his exhibition into two parts: the work entitled The Others, composed of more than a hundred portraits of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with the inclusion of objects and textiles, in which a human presence appears, although not always immediately declared or perceptible. These works, in a sense, constitute his virtual self-portrait.
The first room presents the artist’s reflections on his identity and vision of himself and his personal history. Imaginary self-portraits of Pellegrin’s head shown in profile alternate with depictions of his native city, Venice. These are displayed alongside the eyes and faces of other memories that emerge from drawings and notes from the past, such as 104 Eyes and 1 Black Dot (2011) and Drawings (1984-2002).
While the primary focus lies on memory, the work goes beyond serving as a mere reliquary dedicated solely to the function of memory or historical inquiry. The elements within it form the pretext for a new condition of communication; in this way, the past becomes a reservoir of energy that finds expression in displacement and vibration.
In addition to the portraits, the exhibition presents a number of objects, including Memories (The Corsets), a work created in 2021 that suggests the figures and portraits through the signs of the physical and intimate presence of the body.
Maurizio Pellegrin was born in Venice, Italy in 1956. He lives in New York and Venice. He graduated in Art History at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. Simultaneously he devoted himself to the study of Studio Art at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Venice where he earned a MFA equivalent in Studio Art. He studied Sociology at New School University, and Eastern Philosophy at New York University, New York.
In the 90s Pellegrin started his academic career. He was the Director of the Venice Program Master of Art of New York University where he also taught for almost two decades. In those years he joined the Teachers College, Columbia University where, besides teaching, he was offered the position of Senior Curator of the Gallery. He also taught in the Department of Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design. Later, in 2011, he was appointed Director of the School at the National Academy Museum and School, New York, where he later became the Dean and where in 2014-2015 he was also the Creative Director.
Always in 2017 he founded the New York School of the Arts where is now the Executive Director.
Pellegrin’s work has been the subject of more than 150 solo exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions in international galleries and museums (among the many: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Art, Venice).
His works are in major private and public collections worldwide where, as an omnivorous collector, he arranges found objects gathered during his travels around the world, akin to Venetian traders of the past. He meticulously composes antique objects, dress patterns, musical instruments, threads, black and white photographs and other items according to an intricate, personal system of organization.
There is a vast literature on his work, being the author and subject of more than 40 monographs, and his work has been published in more than 500 articles and essays.
In the past years, thanks also to collaborations with Marignana Arte and Michela Rizzo galleries, the city of Venice has celebrated the artist by showcasing his works in multiple institutions, culminating in the current exhibition hosted in the Dom Pérignon Rooms at Ca’ Pesaro.