Born in Granada in 1871, Mariano Fortuny trained as a painter in Paris before settling in Venice at 18. Moving in international artistic circles, he befriended Gabriele D’Annunzio, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Marchesa Casati and Prinz Fritz Hohenlohe-Waldenburg, among others. He was fascinated by the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, a total union of music, drama and visual presentation which he strove to realise in his set designs. In addition to his work for the theatre, he decorated aristocratic homes and museums. His luxury textiles were produced in a factory on the Guidecca in Venice and sold in shops in all European capitals. Towards the end of the 1930s Mariano Fortuny retired to a palace in the San Beneto district of Venice. Decorated by the artist, the palazzo now hosts the Fortuny Museum.
Currently on show at the museum is Futuruins. The exhibition focuses on the the multiple meanings attributed to ruins through the centuries. Works from Venetian Civic Museums, the State Hermitage Museum and other international collections explore the architectural and sculptural remains of the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian and Syrian civilisations. Contemporary art looks at the physical and moral ruins of today’s society. This is an exploration of the ruins of architecture, cities and suburbs, but also of men and ideas, as the result of time, negligence, degeneration, natural or political tragedies such as war and terrorism.
Ruins are an allegory for the inexorable passage of time, always uncertain and changeable, disputed between past and future, life and death, destruction and creation, Nature and Culture. The aesthetics of ruins is a crucial element in the history of Western civilisation. The ruin as concept symbolises the presence of the past but at the same time contains within itself the potential of the fragment. Fragments of antiquity, covered by the patina of time, hold cultural and symbolic implications that turn them into valid ‘foundation stones’ for building the future. Coming from the past, they confer a wealth of meaning on the present and offer an awareness to future projects.
Curated by Daniela Ferretti, Dimitri Ozerkov with Dario Dalla Lana, the exhibition includes works by such modern artists as Acconci Studio, Giorgio de Chirico, Jean Dubuffet, Anselm Kiefer, Alberto Burri. Franco Guerzoni, Christian Fogarolli, Giuseppe Amato, Renato Leotta and Renata De Bonis have realised new commissions for the event. In addition, the State Hermitage Museum has lent more than 80 pre-modern works, including paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Monsù Desiderio, Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Jacopo and Francesco Bassano, Parmigianino, Veronese, Jacob van Host the Elder, Arturo Nathan and Alessandro Algardi.
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