Proportio: the timeless harmony of the world

Palazzo Fortuny is a place that keeps intact a mystery, walking along the different wings of the building the eclectic and magical spirit by Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949) – who had transformed the historic palace belonged to the Venetian family of Pesaro in his personal atelier of photography,  scenic design, fabrics design and painting – is still alive.
The conception of an exhibition in a so connoted space, that still conserves its structure and much of the original furniture, is a difficult undertaking. Being able to put the content and container in a fruitful dialogue without betray them respectively requires attention and above all to act with the same spirit of openness, curiosity and interest in the plurality of things that the owner of that place used to have. The curators of the exhibition “Proportio”, Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti, managed to realize a project that perfectly works and which, for the universality of the theme that embraces, relates to the building without producing the effect of invasion of dissonant objects, rather able to create a dialogue with its preexistences.

The idea of “proportion” is the main theme of the exhibition, aiming to reactivate a contemporary dialogue around this topic. To make it happen, the curators used works by 136 artists, some of whom were asked to conceive a work specially for the occasion. Also a catalogue has been published containing very interesting contributions written by scientists, architects, philosophers on the same idea of plurality and openness which accompany the visitor to the exhibition. The proportional relationships that governs the universe, the theories of sacred geometry and the golden section have been often weaved together with esoteric practices, spiritual knowledge and religious traditions, and for this reason were subjected to controls and restrictions. The Western world has devoted to these studies for years, but the need to keep this researches hidden has led towards a desertion or even a forgetfulness of these principles. The merit of the exhibition “Proportio” is to be capable of revealing the closest and yet the most underrated side of these theories.

The proportions are not only manifested through series of numbers or mathematical measurements compared to a whole, but a way to feel how rules and elements are connected each other and how they are perceived by people using intuition and senses. In the end – as Plato argued – studying the proportions means to investigate our perception of the universe in its oscillation between order and chaos. Therefore rules that determine the static of architecture, of the human body and the existence of the cosmos become the macro-themes that determine the setting of the exhibition. Thus, among others, the work of Luciano Fabro reflects the architecture of the Palladian facade of the Redentore Church; the one by Anish Kapoor stages a subtle balance between fullness and emptiness; the ones by Berlinde De Bruyckere and Antony Gormley reason on the human body, an unit generated through the juxtaposition of fragments and the work by Marina Abramovic offers an ideal “journey” throught the infinity studded with stars and parallel systems.

The horizon of this researches appears infinitely extended and sometimes far from our understanding, probably because from a superficial point of view these questions appear to be obsolete. The many works exposed have the merit of bringing the topic to the contemporary and to make us understand the distinction between “being something timeless” and “being something old fashioned”. As Axel Vervoordt wrote in a passage of his text, this period could be a time of great change where we are finding ways to “Integrating the wisdom of the past in the present”,  despite what it may seem.

Curated by Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti
Venezia – Palazzo Fortuny
9 May – 22 November 2015

Andrea Palladio, LucianoFabro,MichaelBorremans,PianoNobilePalazzoFortunyJean-PierreGabriel

Andrea Palladio, Luciano Fabro, Michael Borremans, Piano Nobile Palazzo Fortuny, © Jean-Pierre Gabriel


Overall view, Piano Nobile, © Jean-Pierre Gabriel


Anish Kapoor e Alberto Giacometti, Gathering Clouds, 2014 e Le Cube, 1934-1935 © Jean-Pierre Gabriel


Antony Gormley, Grill, 2014 © Jean-Pierre Gabriel


Berlinde De Bruyckere e Henri Foucault, Romeu, 2010 e Thais, 2008 © Jean-Pierre Gabriel

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