The World Belongs to You

June 2 – December 31, 2011
Palazzo Grassi, Venice

The exhibition The World Belongs to You offers the public the chance to explore the world of artists from different origins, inviting them to reflect upon the vertiginous rhythm of change in a modern world characterised by nomadism, internationalism and hybridisation.

Taking its lead from Francois Pinault’s forward thinking approach to collecting, the exhibition embraces multiple fields of knowledge in order to offer a new way of understanding contemporary society. Originating from the four corners of the world – from China to South Africa, France to Italy, Japan to Iraq, the USA to Russia – the 40 presented artists all approach the upheavals of our world from different individual perspectives, illustrating the tensions but also the hopes that result from them.

The exhibition revolves around major themes of contemporary history: from the breakdown of symbols, to the temptation of self-withdrawal and isolation, the attraction of violence and spirituality in a troubled and globalised world. Each artist is presented in a space dedicated to his or her work. However, thanks to the open layout of the venue, none of these spaces are shut off from each other, thus allowing visitors to see interacting influences through different viewpoints.

Two works embody the two defining tendencies of the exhibition, including Sun Yuan & Peng Yu’s large vulture titled Waiting, 2006, which stands as a metaphor of threat, fear and hovering predators, and Thomas Houseago’s symbol of faith in human abilities in L’Homme Pressé, 2011.

Extending across the Atrium, Joana Vasconcelos’ Contamination ,2008-2010 exemplifies the porosity and interactions that inevitably exist between cultures in a globalised world. This explosion of components and colours is a veritable hymn to hybridisation.

This crossbreeding results from the disintegration of models and utopias inherited from the past – with Farhad Moshiri’s depiction of the fall of a certain type of societies such as in Iran, Ahmed Alsoudani’s paintings of mediatized torture, Friedrich Kunath’s poetic sculpture of on-going human naive perplexity, Zhang Huan’s outmoded monumental communist figures, El Anatsui and David Hammon’s stripping-bare of African and African-American’s vast culture, Huang Yong Ping’s exploration of terrorist threat, Loris GreÅLaud and Matthew Day Jackson’s apocalyptical announcement of a post-human world, Cyprien Gaillard’s collapse of utopias and the accepted frameworks of life, Yto Barrada’s work around the obsolescence of a touristic society, Adrian Ghenie, Sislej Xhafa, Sergey Bratkov and Boris Mikhailov’s weight of a Soviet past, Philippe Perrot’s individual guilt, and Zeng Fanzhi, Nicholas Hlobo and Yang Jiechang ‘s return to raw nature.

The voyage then continues with Bruly BouabreÅL and Alighiero e Boetti’s impossible representation of the world, Jonathan Wateridge, David Claerbout, and Francesco Vezzoli’s media-drenched reality and absence of spontaneity, Urs Fischer’s sculptures on the failure of the real, Sigmar Polke’s work around fragility and poverty, Charles Ray’s breakdown of the symbolic idea of family, Marlene Dumas’ depiction of women’s precarious situation, Giuseppe Penone’s solitude and impotence of man, Takashi Murakami’s absence of rupture in history, Rudolf Stingel’s deÅLcor as social reference, Maurizio Cattelan’s need for humour and humility, Ger van Elk’s desire to represent the viewers’s difficult exchange with sculpture and Lee Ufan’s spiritual experience.

This exhibition transcends cultural origins, generations and eras. The very architecture of Palazzo Grassi accentuates this theme, by providing the visitor with an almost panoramic view of the works on display whilst also allowing for an infinite variety of artistic experiences.

(Caroline Bourgeois - Curator)


Gunpowder Forest Bubble
by Loris Gréaud
© Palazzo Grassi, ph: ORCH orsenigo_chemollo


Image above:

Joana Vasconcelos
© Palazzo Grassi, ph: ORCH orsenigo_chemollo