The exhibition Dancing with Myself was conceived as a collaboration between the Pinault Collection and the Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany. It will open to the public on April 8th at Punta della Dogana in Venice, and is curated by Martin Bethenod, director of Pinault-Collection – Paris, of his own museum Bourse de Commerce and Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana Venice, and by Florian Ebner, chief curator of photography at Centre Pompidou.
Dancing with Myself has actually seen the light in 2016 at Museum Folkwang, within the context of Pinault’s exhibition policies hors les murs. Venice, however, will host 56 works that were not on show in Essen, in addition to 145 works which communicate with each other, thus creating a dialogic relationship. The theme is the representation of the self from the 1970’s up until today, and it will be explored through 4 conceptual areas: Melancholy, Identity games, Political autobiographies and Raw Material. This dialectical process involves communication between different artistic dimensions, such as sculpture and photography. Besides, it offers a spatial bridge between the works of these two museums: “A piece of the Pinault Collection will be exhibited in front of another one, which is very similar, but comes from the Essen collection [..] Or there can also exist very strong complementarities, as in the case with Cindy Sherman”, as pointed out by Florian Ebner, who until 2017 has been chief curator of photography at Museum Folkwang.
“The central idea – i.e. self-representation and the way artists use their body, their image, their person – allowed us to connect different generations, disciplines, practices and levels of fame”. The heart of the exhibition, however, analyses a theme that shifts the focus from the simple concept of self-portrait, which has lately been studied by many European cultural institutes and in plenty of literature. If we distance ourselves from the idea that any self-representation is related to a specific genre, we will find out that images and any artistic practice can actually be on show: as stated by Martin Bethenod, “it is not really just a theme, but rather a procedure, a real method”. According to the curator, the artist’s body and his image suggest a tool “which he uses to explore a certain amount of themes and positions, that are often related to political challenges, but also to issues of social, racial, gender and sexual relevance…”.
The exhibition is therefore focused on the idea of the human body as raw material, a tool used to represent other topics, which are not necessarily intimate.
Among the works of 32 artists, extremely popular names are included, such as Nan Goldin, Urs Fisheer, Gilber & George, Damien Hirst, Robert Gober, the works of Cindy Sherman including Untitled Film Stills, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Martin Kippenberger, Maurizio Cattelan. An important list, which aims at embodying the image of movement and activism. This is exactly why the exhibition is entitled Dancing with Myself, recalling a ludic dimension, which nevertheless claims to assert a person’s subjectivity and identity.
Dancing with myself
Punta della Dogana, Dorsoduro, 2 – Venice
Open to the public from 8 April 2018