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Contemporary Art: Russian Artists at Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel in Venice

For the 57th Venice Biennale several pavilions of the exhibit, as well as collateral events, have been organized in marvelous Venetian palazzos, which in the past were the houses of noble families of the Venetian Republic. It is now possible to visit, sometimes with no entrance fee, unique architectural monuments, which offer the possibility to admire not only works of contemporary art but also hidden courtyards with traces of colorful frescoes and exquisite marble and stone bas-reliefs. It is really worth to wander around the city and discover these treasures, feeling the contrast between the ancient Venetian art and the contemporary artworks inserted in such original frames.

One such palazzo that deserves to be visited is definitely Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel. The exhibit presented in this magnificent building has been organized in cooperation with the Puškin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, with the participation of several artists from different countries, most of which from Russia. It will be open up to September 5th, and it is free of charge. The title of the event is quite evocative for a city like Venice: Man as a Bird. Images of Journeys.

One of the works of art that captures immediately the visitors’ attention is Sandolo by Fabrizio Plessi.

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Fabrizio Plessi, Sandolo

The boat, in this case a typical Venetian sandolo, is in itself a metaphor for journey. The screens inserted in the boat show images and reproduce sounds of water that flows, as a reflection of the liquid nature of our city. Plessi is quite a famous artist in Venice: over the past years he has exhibited here quite a few of his works of art; all of them are very original and they perfectly reflect the real essence of Venice. Do not miss, by the way, his temporary experimental installation Fenix DNA at La Fenice Opera House.

The Russian artists present at Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel are instead quite new for us, but they are perfectly tuned to the Venetian atmosphere. Their aim is mainly to explore the development of optics combined with artistic experiences.

We cannot really explain the entire exhibit in our post. We would just like to comment some works of art that have attracted our Venetian attention.

Irina Zatulovkaja’s canvases are quite striking: she has painted stylized figures drawing inspiration from biblical themes or experiences of everyday life. Quite interesting is the fact that she has used as a support for her representations ancient Venetian textiles, which are unusual materials in the work of this artist.

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Irina Zatulovskaja, Back Home

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Irina Zatulovskaja, Back Home

Leonid Tiškov, with his Private Moon, has created charming light effects: he tells the story of a man who meets the moon and starts a lifelong journey carrying it all over the world.

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Leonid Tiškov, Private Moon

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Leonid Tiškov, Private Moon

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Leonid Tiškov, Private Moon

Sofia Gavrilova is a photographer. During her expeditions through Russia she has shot empty landscapes, vertical panoramas that focus our attention on the line of the horizon. These pictures, as we like to imagine, recall the ancient Venetian merchants and travelers, with their eyes concentrated on the horizon, both at sea or on the land, to spot from a distance their final destination.

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Sofia Gavrilova, Dug Holes

Jurij Kalendarev starts here a personal artistic journey where light and sound become quite relevant: the artist’s study becomes sort of a temple, where to experience a creative meditation. Metal panel, logs carved by sea and time, pine cones… everything can be transformed into some original musical instruments that can reproduce the sound of the universe.

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Jurij Kalendarev, Inner Space

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Jurij Kalendarev, Inner Space, detail

Also the artworks by Claerbout, Fujihata, De Nijs and all the other masters deserve to be admired in the spectacular frame of Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel. Let us remind you that the exhibit will remain open up to September 5th and that the entrance is free of charge. We will be waiting for you, anxious to guide you at the discovery of ancient and contemporary art in an exceptional Venetian palazzo.

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Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel, detail