On a recent holiday to Venice, to feast on art and pesce, our friend Guize suggested we go to the Palazzo Fortuny. I imagined a palace like a huge fish tank with glass sealed windows and doors, every level filled with water and tuna swimming freely. Not so…
Unfor’tuna’tely when we got there the gothic palazzo was hiding behind scaffolding... but it was a welcome change from the predominantly white gallery walls of the Bienalle. Once inside, the mix of elegance and decay makes you feel like your privy to a private world. It invites you to explore someone else's treasures, and shows how their work is inspired by the Things they surround themselves with. This is what i think was clever about this exhibition entitled 'TRA' (art spelt backwards) the 'Edge of Becoming'.
The show is in homage to the palazzo's namesake, Mariano Fortuny, who was quite the renaissance man. Painter, photographer & inventor, fashion, textile and lighting designer, the theatrical element of his creations also informs the selection of other artists and the palace offers a stage. Combining work of both the unknown and the revered... the scope is boundless, with art objects guesstimated to have been made centuries BC, mixed with modern day light works that defy your sense of perspective like James Turrels 'Red Shift'.
Many of the walls were covered with Fortuny's printed textiles hung elegantly from the ceiling in ocean blues and teal greens that moved slightly with the wind, and I got the feeling of
being underwater... for a second.