Julie Mehretu: historical past maps in a Venetian palace | EUROtoday

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In room 13 of the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, underneath an ornate ceiling, there’s a gigantic canvas by the artist Julie Mehretu (Adis Ababa, 1970) titled Damascus. It is a fancy large-format work (nearly six meters by two and a half) composed of six buildings that, collectively, present an architectural view of the town of Damascus in 2016, years after the beginning of the battle. The buildings are hidden by darkish strains. It may very well be the Guernica of Syria.

This is likely one of the greater than 50 works made by Mehretu within the final 25 years and which, for 2 weeks, have been exhibited within the Venetian palace. This is likely one of the largest exhibitions in Europe of the American artist of Ethiopian origin: a set of work and prints made in 1 / 4 of a century, a few of them latest, between 2021 and 2023.

The exhibition “is a free and non-chronological journey through his work.” “His practice is inspired by art history, geography, history, social struggles or revolutionary movements,” within the phrases of Caroline Bourgeois, curator of the exhibition and curator of the Pinault Collection.

The exhibition contains 17 works that belong to the gathering of Francois Pinault, the second richest man in France and proprietor of the Kering empire, the posh large that features manufacturers akin to Gucci, Saint Laurent or Balenciaga. In addition to being a businessman, Franois Pinault is likely one of the largest collectors of latest artwork on the earth. His assortment brings collectively greater than 10,000 works, created from the Nineteen Sixties till now.

The businessman has a number of museums. In Venice he acquired two enclaves: the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana, which opened their doorways in 2006 and 2009, respectively. In Paris, the Bourse de Commerce opened in 2021. In the constructing of the previous inventory trade, it has turn into one of many references of latest artwork within the French capital.

Julie Mehretu is likely one of the artists finest represented within the Pinault assortment. Her work is advanced and dedicated: she makes use of giant codecs with extremely elaborate, multi-level buildings, by which she superimposes layers of historic occasions, reminiscences or experiences. In some works she displays skeletons of cities, that are hidden by these environments and sensations that she introduces by strains. These, extra chaotic, intervene with these clear geometric strains.

Many of her works “explore recent events, such as the war in Syria or the danger of migration: they remind us that the artist, even when she uses a metaphorical language typical of painting, in no way remains apart from the world and its challenges, something that is not surprising considering its history,” explains Bruno Racinedirector of Palazzo Grassi.

Mehretu was born in 1970 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and now works between New York and Berlin. His household fled the nation after the failed revolution and he settled within the United States. She was seven years previous. Her work, due to this fact, has at all times explored the function of the diaspora and the place of the person in several social crises. After the revolutions of the Arab Spring or the Syrian battle, her work grew to become obscured.

The pattern is known as Ensemble (Together), as a result of in it Mehretu dialogues with different artists who’re buddies or with whom she has had a connection, such because the British Shut up Deanthey may go Nairy BaghramianPakistan Huma Bhabha or the American David Hammons. They all deal with in a roundabout way the difficulty of diaspora, exile, battle or migration.

“Most of us, in this ensemble“We belong to the era that grew up in the beginning of the postcolonial interval, and we’ve needed to face the processes of violence that resulted from it,” explains the artist, in dialogue with the curator of the exhibition, Caroline Bourgeois.

Rise of the new suprematists (2001) represents, through complex superpositions, the different spaces that make up our references and gives the idea of ​​mobility. Black city (2007) presents hybrid and cosmopolitan urban scenes. TRANSpaintings It is the most recent (2023) and in it the artist takes her paintings off the walls for the first time. The paintings-sculptures are in aluminum frames in the middle of the rooms, allowing light to enter through.

On the two floors of the Venetian palace, under its decorated ceilings, moments and territories are explored, their “story maps with out location”, as I described it at the time. Today he explains that Pakistan, Iran…, countries from which the friendly artists originate, “are locations the place the revolution or the guarantees of emancipation have been utterly confiscated and damaged (…) All of those initiatives have failed in a roundabout way.” , but the promises of these different modernities are at the center of a certain drive or belief in the possibility that there may be something different.”