Let me take you on a journey through the intricacies of the water city, between lights and shadows that dance on the thousand-year-old stones. Where time itself becomes art and the captured images blend with the nuances of the centuries, let me take you to one of the hidden jewels of Venice, the Palazzo Grimani Museum, where the “stones of Venice” come to life in the “Venice Mapping Time” exhibition.
Art has always had the power to capture time, to freeze an instant, to frame a moment, but what happens when time itself becomes the raw material of art? Here is the mystery revealed by Ugo Carmeni, a photographer with the watchful eye of a reporter and the sensitivity of an artist: his exceptional exhibition is curated by Daniela Ferretti and Dario Dalla Lana and is promoted by the Veneto Regional Museums Directorate and the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the Municipality of Venice, with the patronage of the Patriarchate of Venice. “Venice Mapping Time” is a profound reflection on the “stones of Venice”, on the architecture that constitutes its soul. Carmeni spent years observing and documenting the surfaces of this unique city in the world, undertaking an endless journey through the restoration of churches and palaces. The result is a series of images that reveal the effect of time on the stones, the light that caresses them, the patina of antiquity that envelops them, but this exhibition is not just a collection of photographs: it is a celebration of the relationship between Venice and time, an exploration of how the past is intertwined with the present. The details captured by Carmeni become a sort of dreamlike pilgrimage, a unique experience that takes us through centuries of history in an instant.
On the main floor of the palace, Carmeni’s works capture attention with their majesty. They are enlarged images of architectural details, sculpted animals, lions, dragons, snakes and eagles, which decorate the city. These photographs, printed in large formats, reveal a hidden Venice, a city that reveals itself only to those who know how to look beyond its surface. Carmeni’s observation goes beyond mere documentation: it is an immersion in the hidden textures of the stones, in the colors that emerge with the passing of the seasons, in the shadows that are created with the changing light incidence of the sun. The images are a tribute to the architecture, history and beauty of Venice. But don’t think of this exhibition as static: it is a constantly evolving experience. A multimedia installation reacts to the presence of the public, creating an ever-changing visual narrative. Time itself becomes the protagonist, influencing the perception of the works and the soundtrack that accompanies them.
However, the magic of “Venice Mapping Time” does not stop here, Michele Bubacco’s project, “Now I see bees, I won”, further enriches this extraordinary exhibition. Bubacco, a Venetian artist born in 1983, collaborated with Carmeni in a work that plays with the idea of time and circularity: the artist painted on the exhibition posters, adding his personal touch to details chosen from Carmeni’s documentation work. The result is a dialogue between the architecture of Venice and contemporary art. Bubacco’s project doesn’t stop here, he has created an artist’s book that collects the images of the posters painted by Carmeni. The title, “Now I see bees, I won”, is a palindrome that evokes the circularity of time, the perpetual movement that animates history and art.
This extraordinary exhibition is part of a broader project to enhance the Palazzo Grimani Museum, which aims to combine the historical legacy of the museum with contemporary experiences. “Venice Mapping Time” is an extraordinary example of how the past and present can dialogue through art, creating a unique and engaging experience. If you have the opportunity to visit Venice, don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in this extraordinary world of stone and light, history and contemporaneity. “Venice Mapping Time” is an invitation to look at Venice with new eyes, to discover the beauty hidden in its stones and in its endless time.
Ugo Carmeni. Venice Mapping Time
5/07/2023 – 26/11/2023
Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venezia
is a contemporary art magazine since 1980