“Space Force Construction” at Palazzo delle Zattere – V-A-C Foundation, Venice
V-A-C Foundation presents “Space Force Construction,” organised with the Art Institute of Chicago, for the launch of V-A-C’s new Venetian headquarters Palazzo delle Zattere.
“Space Force Construction” is a conversation between contemporary artists and historic works. Over 100 works from the 1920s and ‘30s by key Soviet artists are brought into dialogue with new site-speci c commissions and recent works by contemporary artists, including Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera noted for her strong political messages, Mikhail Tolmachev, a young artist from Moscow who explores the subject of memory through photographic archives, renowned American artist Barbara Kruger, German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and Russian multi-media artist Kirill Savchenkov, amongst many others.
The exhibition examines the role of art and its relationship to society – a relationship which is strengthened during periods of major social and historical transformation, as seen during the years of the Revolution. Artists of that time directly participated in the construction of new institutions and in the reorganisation of public and private space, recognising art’s potential to bring about social change. While the impact of the work produced by artists during that historic moment is widely recognised, the exhibition considers how their ideas have been developed over the course of the twentieth century and what form they take today.
“Space Force Construction” will organise the entire Palazzo delle Zattere into thematic display spaces from the early Soviet period: factory, battleground, theatre, exhibition, press, school and the domestic environment.
Historical installations and objects have been reconstructed for the exhibition, restoring their intended purpose and function and in some cases creating structures that were never realised, existing only in rare photographs or designs – from El Lissitzky’s Dresden room and Gustav Klutsis’ multimedia kiosk to Varvara Stepanova’s theatrical decorations and Aleksei Galaktionov’s furniture. Rather than simply reconstructing these works, contemporary artists are playing a key role in their revival and reinterpretation. Christian Nyampeta, together with philosophers from Rwanda and students from the Industrial Design Faculty at the University of Venice, will develop a new artistic project inside Aleksandr Rodchenko’s Workers’ Club, aiming to start discussion and debate around contemporaneity.
“Space Force Construction” includes key works from major international public and private collections, including an important photographic archive showing social gatherings in early soviet times, created by Irina Bibikova during the course of her research into the art of mass propaganda. In a newly commissioned installation, Irina Korina works with the forms and gures depicted, bringing back to life the grotesque characters and gures from these street carnivals and demonstrations. In a similar way, Chinese artist Cao Fei echoes this by placing Marx, Mao and Lenin together in the online virtual world Second Life, where they live a utopic existence in the contemporary sense of the word.
Teresa Iarocci Mavica, Director of the V-A-C Foundation said: ‘Cultural production
is one of the fundamental aims of V-A-C and nearly all of the contemporary artists in the exhibition have produced new site-speci c works. Each new piece, we believe, offers the potential for new interpretation and new re ection on the current global condition. And when these re ections come to life in the shared space of a show like Space Force Construction, they inevitably start a new conversation. In trying to nd new answers to the problems posed by our contemporaneity, we create spaces where people are free and motivated to engage with an art that makes them feel part of the discussion. With this show, as always, we hope to demonstrate that the social spirit of art is still alive and that the engines of its motor for change are running at full speed.’
“Space Force Construction” is curated by Matthew Witkovsky, Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator of the Department of Photography, Art Institute of Chicago and V-A-C Curator Katerina Chuchalina, with Anna Ilchenko.
at V-A-C Foundation, Venice
until 25 August 2017