Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce
From 26 March 2022 to 6 January 2023
Venezia, Doge’s Palace – Sala dello Scrutinio
Curated by: Gabriella Belli and Janne Sirén
With Anselm Kiefer contemporary art will be coming to the Palazzo Ducale, with an exhibition that is set to be the centrepiece of the fifth edition of MUVE Contemporaneo, the biennale organized by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the key concern of which is to reflect on the relationship between contemporary art and museums.
The opening of the eagerly awaited installation by Anselm Kiefer, one of the leading artists active today, is part of the celebrations for the 1600th Anniversary of the Foundation of Venice. The title of the work is from the writings of the Venetian philosopher Andrea Emo: Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce (These writings, when burned, will finally cast a little light).
The series of paintings produced specially for the Palazzo Ducale in 2020 and 2021 are arranged in the space and magnificent setting of the Sala dello Scrutinio, engaging closely with the thirty-three monumental paintings on the ceiling and with the heroic values expressed by the palace’s entire decorative scheme. The show underlines the role of contemporary art in reflecting on universal themes, transcending Venice and opening up to current philosophical perspectives.
The invitation to Kiefer by the Fondazione Musei Civici dates back to 2019, and the decision to host his work in the Palazzo Ducale was aimed at showing the ability of this site — a symbol of the Serenissima Republic, or Most Serene Republic — to still serve as a dynamic cultural center and not just a memory.
It was a great challenge because it involved adding a new series of paintings to these rooms, even if temporarily, after almost three hundred years, installing them on top of the older ones. Historically, this was something that happened in response to changing tastes or needs of the state.
It was an even greater challenge for Kiefer to work alongside important painters from the past — Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Andrea Vicentino — who had been called upon by the Senate of the Republic to repaint the glory of Venice, on land and sea, on the walls of the Sala dello Scrutinio after the devastating fire of 1577.
The result of Kiefer’s impressive undertaking is before our eyes, beginning with the title, a quotation from the philosopher Andrea Emo; both he and the artist remind us that these paintings — as in the inescapable plan of life — emerge from negation, the cancellation of others on which they are superimposed. Those paintings are in a certain sense the outcome of the fire that destroyed the room’s earlier decoration, and the new paintings too are destined to die when they are removed from the Palazzo Ducale. The tragic and irresolvable unity of opposites.
Venice is at the center of this striking contemporary installation, not as an object to be celebrated but rather as a grand metaphor for cultural transits and passages between East and West, as a pretext for a narrative that brings back to the surface the stratification of millennial myths, of solitudes and anxieties to which the artist gives form through a new epic with accents as grave as the darkness of our time.
Supported by Gagosian
With the collaboration of Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per il Comune di Venezia e Laguna
The visit at the exhibition is included in Doge’s Palace’s ticket
Opening hours: everyday 9.00 – 18.00
(last admission 17.00)