Italy – Venice
At the origins of the quarrel of the icons (the famous battle between the iconoclasts and the iconodules, having torn the Eastern Church in the 8th century), was the belief in the power of incarnation of the religious image and, consequently, the duty of veneration attached to the “holy images.” This “status of the image” … “its ability to embody a presence, between appearance and disappearance” is at the heart of the exhibition Icons.
“Designed specifically for the Punta della Dogana, with works from the Pinault collection (designed Maurizio Cattelan, Roman Opalka, Rudolf Stingel, and Danh Vo), “the exhibition considers both the fragility and the power of images,” their ability “to generate emotion and to be one with the spectators.” Ghostly images that look like relics, evoking angels or Madonnas of Christian art or archaic idols of pagan times. Images that are far removed by their modernity and, often, their triviality, from sacred art, and yet all impregnated with mystery. Works “inspired” if not by the Divine Spirit, by a voice from the “Beyond” – to which Lafayette Anticipations is dedicating another exhibition of icons and idols (ancient and contemporary), the one that Victor Hugo named the “Mouth of Shadows.”
How not to be upset thus in front of the Forgotten Dream of David Hammons: a worn-out wedding dress suspended, such a corpse erected in trophy, above a sewer mouth? A sacrificial image if ever there was one, it echoes another very moving work by the African-American artist, The Embrace (circa 1975): beyond Klimt’s Kiss, the “icon” of the Viennese Secession to which the work echoes, the embracing bodies of mother and son, emerging in transparency like X-ray images or photographic negatives, inevitably recall the Madonnas with Child and, more particularly, the Romanesque Black Virgins.
How can we not also see in Edith Dekyndt’s crumpled drape (Scrunch, 2022) the image, if not of the Holy Shroud, at least of a shroud? This image of disappearance, of burial, resonates particularly well more than a century after the invention of the monochrome, but also resonates with all the metaphysical quests of art, from the golden backgrounds of medieval icons to the vibrant abstractions of Rothko: to give sight to the mystery, to make visible the invisible, “to put the human soul in vibration,”1
1Philippe Sers, preface to Du Spirituel dans l’art, et la peinture en particulier by Wassily Kandinsky (ed. Folio Essais)
PUNTA DELLA DOGANA – PINAULT COLLECTION
APRIL 2 – NOVEMBER 26
BEYOND – RITUALS FOR A NEW WORLD
RUE DU PLATRE, PARIS IV
TILL MAY 7
FROM HERE TO INFINITY
GIOVANNI ANSELMO, LOTHAR BAUMGARTEN, MARISA MERZ, ETTORE SPALLETTI
GALERIE MARIAN GOODMAN
79, RUE DU TEMPLE, PARIS III
UNTIL APRIL 29