Prima Materia

Punta della Dogana
30/05/2013 - 15/02/2015


"Prima Materia", the third exhibition to be held at Punta della Dogana since its opening in 2009, explores points of convergence within artistic creation, beyond the cultural spaces in which the art was created and the time in which it was born. The exhibition examines the relationship between art from the second half of the twentieth century and works made by emerging artists today, getting as close as possible to the “primary matter” of artistic creation: common influences, a comparison of cultural references, media resonances, critical perspectives and differing times. The project has taken the form of a dialogue between the curators Michael Govan and Caroline Bourgeois and their different worlds: California on the one hand and Europe on the other. With artists from different geographical regions and cultures, the idea of a dialogue, comparison and dialectical tension underlies and gives structure to the entire exhibition.

At a time when we are immersed in a cacophony of media images and sounds, and live in a climate of anxiety often provoked by invisible and abstract adversaries, the four fundamental expressive art forms – painting, sculpture, installation and performance – are amalgamated over the course of the exhibition, with contributions from Philippe Parreno, Adel Abdessemed, Roni Horn, David Hammons, Mark Grotjahn, Marlene Dumas and many more.



The exhibition catalogue is published by Electa. Graphic design by Leonardo Sonnoli, Tassinari/Vetta.

It brings together texts by Philippe-Alain Michaud, Madeline Gins, Adrian Searle, Ali Subotnick, Jochen Volz, Elisabeth Lebovici and Erich Franz as well as interviews to the curators of the exhibition and artists Lee Ufan, Theaster Gates, Loris Gréaud, Mark Grotjahn, Philippe Parreno, Diana Thater and Ryan Trecartin.

248 pages
1 trilingual edition in Italian, English and French

Exhibition guide

Prima Materia