Icônes

Punta della Dogana
02/04 - 26/11/2023

Exhibition

Icônes
An exhibition of works from the Pinault Collection
2 April 2023 - 26 November 2023
At Punta della Dogana
Curator: Emma Lavigne, CEO of Pinault Collection, with Bruno Racine, CEO and Director, Palazzo Grassi — Punta della Dogana

The word “icon” has two meanings: its Greek etymology defines it as an “image” or “likeness”, while it is used to designate a religious painting. The idea of a model, an emblematic figure is more contemporary. The status of the image—its capacity to embody a presence, between appearance and disappearance, shadow and light, to represent a space, to spark emotion, and to become one with the viewers—is at the core of this exhibition, conceived specifically for the Punta della Dogana and the Venetian context, with its rich, uninterrupted dialogue between East and West.

The icon—a vehicle of passage to another world, other states of consciousness (contemplation, meditation)—refers us to a transcendent reality, having the power to materialize the presence of the invisible, creating emotion or an aesthetic and spiritual bedazzlement. They are the iconostases—the devices that conceal the religious officiants behind a wall of images which acts as a door to the divine. They are works that generate space, like so many clearings or chapels in this era of saturation and appropriation of images. They are tableaux vivants, rites, everything that makes the image a relational space between humans and what is beyond them. Marie-José Mondzain, in her philosophical reflection on the filmmaker Tarkovsky and the icon-image, emphasises how much the author of Andrei Rublev, through his cinematographic poetics, “tears the icon away from the Church and associates the adventure of the gaze with the constitution of a new assembly.” The collected works invite us to share the visible through the exploration of the status of the image.

A thematic exhibition with works from the Pinault Collection by Josef Albers, Maurizio Cattelan, Edith Dekyndt, David Hammons, Arthur Jafa, Donald Judd, On Kawara, James Lee Byars, Sherrie Levine, Agnes Martin, Paulo Nazareth, Camille Norment, Roman Opalka, Lygia Pape, Michel Parmentier, Philippe Parreno, Robert Ryman, Dayatina Singh, Rudolf Stingel, Danh Vo, and Chen Zhen.

Between figuration and abstraction, this exhibition invokes all the dimensions of the image in the artistic context—paintings, videos, sounds, installations, performances—through a selection of emblematic works from the Pinault Collection, and new dialogues between artists few of its artists (David Hammons/Agnes Martin; Danh Vo/Rudolf Stingel; Sherrie Levine/On Kawara...). The exhibition considers both the fragility and the power of images, their polysemic character: all the works become apparitions, illuminations, revelations; they are transfigurations, in every respect.