Vedova and Lichtenstein

Alfredo Bianchini & Lorenzo Tomasin

During the 2013 Biennale 2013, lichtenstein comes to the Fondazione Vedova. But it is not the pavilion of the alpine principality...

Indeed: it is Roy Lichtenstein, the master of Pop art, a selection of whose sculp- tural works will be shown at the Fondazione, presented by the New York foun- dation that looks after his artistic legacy. The exhibition of the American artist will be staged next to a new presentation of Vedova himself in the Magazzini del Sale from 27 May to 25 November. This is a new layout that recalls that created by Gae Aulenti and is curated by Francesca Fenaroli, who has been her closest collaborator for years. So it will also be a tribute to the memory of the great Gae.

It is the spirit of the Foundation: to talk about Vedova without withdrawing solely into his memory and celebration, cross pollinating his art with the languages of other great 20th- century artists. Proposing two such different figures as Vedova and lichtenstein together may seem odd.

There is more: it not just a question of holding important exhibitions or presenting great artists (always with the aid of a great curator, Germano Celant). It is primar- ily one of presenting a new way of accessing art and putting it into relation with Venice. That which may be seen at the Magazzini del Sale will be only half of the foundation’s offering for 2013. The other half will be spread all around the city.

A dispersed museum?

exactly, but in a different way to what has been offered in the past.


Throughout the Biennale, and in conjunction with the opening of the Maga- zzini to the public, some works by Vedova will be on show at key places in the conservation and appreciation of Venice’s past. These are the Correr Muse- um, Ca’ Rezzonico and Ca’ Pesaro: the civic museums, thanks to an agreement made with their director Gabriella Belli, who intends opening the museums up to dialogues with contemporary artists. Another project is that conceived by the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, masterfully directed by the Guardian Gran- do Franco Posocco. The aim is to create a specific meeting between 20th- and 21st-century artists and Tintoretto. The project was conceived by Stefano Ce- cchetto and Giorgio Baldo, and the Fondazione Vedova interacted and collabo- rated under the guidance of Germano Celant with Fabrizio Gazzarri. 

Just like when, at the time of the Republic, that same Scuola Grande hosted the works of contemporary artists every year, and displayed them in the Campo outside. San Rocco is not new to contemporary art exhibitions...

Precisely: behind Vedova plurimo is the idea that it is possible to overcome the purely conservative idea of Venice and its relationship with art. Not in the sense of rejecting its past; on the contrary, with the aim of constantly renewing its interpretation, turning the city into a generator of new artis- tic experiences. Putting modern and ancient languages together, attracting contemporary artists to Venice, inspiring them to create something new and original conceived specifically for Venice, as we did with kiefer last year.

Opening a dialogue between the Venetian institutions dedicated to art?

Also. And trying to formulate, with them, an idea of Venice, of art and its en- joyment: an idea that unfortunately seems to have been missing from our city for too long.

Such an idea inevitably involves a rethink of the actual life of Venice. Its vitality. Can contemporary culture offer a convincing way of emerging from a static, conservative and purely museum idea of the city?

I think so. Thanks to the recent changes in our way of living, working and using new forms of communication, Venice can perhaps give a new meaning to its condition of being a ‘blocked’ city, condemned forever to unchangeable urban structures. In the immobility of its landscape, which is without equal in any city in the world, a new mobility can now flow: that which is made pos- sible by today’s intangible methods of thinking, working and innovating. Of culture, too.

An ancient and immobile container for new and highly mobile contents?

The best container possible. For the first time since the start of the contem- porary age, Venice and its historical, urban and social peculiarities are no longer in conflict with the present, but can be perfectly integrated with it. Provided that the city and its role in today’s culture and society really are rethought.


Alfredo Bianchini, Venetian lawyer, is the President of the Fondazione Emilio ed Annabianca Vedova

Lorenzo Tomasin is an Italian linguist and academic


- Translated by David Graham -