'Collection' – Nancy Fouts, Joseph Kosuth, Gavin Turk
Curated by James Putnam & Fiona Biggiero
May 10th – July 2nd, 2017
The Metropole Hotel/ Gervasuti Foundation, Venice
To coincide with the 57th Venice Biennale
The artists were invited to show works within the context of the Metropole’s layered history, creating a dialogue with the hotel’s own museum-like display of antiques. Its guest heritage includes intellectual figures such as Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud and Marcel Proust as well as housing Antonio Vivaldi’s oratory, creating a unique ambience to inspire artists.
Nancy Fouts’ 'Peacock in War Bonnet' captures the fleeting and unsettling moment of visual and conceptual uncertainty, a fusion between the rational and irrational. Her customized ‘Adam and Adam’ and ‘Eve and Eve’, an ironical twist on Lucas Cranach’s famous 1528 double painting, transforming this biblical subject into a modern myth of the birth of gender.
Joseph Kosuth’s neon work is a tribute to Sigmund Freud who stayed at the Metropole in the 1890s. Referencing Freud since the 1980s he has appropriated, decontextualized and re-worked a number of Freud’s texts in his installations. The cancelled white neon which runs along the perimeter of the bar area is a selected quote from Freud’s own writings, specifically related to psychoanalysis, art, philosophy and religion.
Gavin Turk’s mechanical sculpture of a fortune-telling gypsy, Rosy Lee. belongs to his series of mystic automatons that all bear an uncanny likeness to himself. Cockney rhyming slang for a-cup-of-tea, Rosy Lee is also a nod to Turk’s interest in tea and its relation to cultural trade, working class Britishness and the tradition of reading tea leaves. The title is also rhyming slang for Rrose Selavy, the drag name of Marcel Duchamp’s female alter ego, an allusion to art’s ability to alter perception and its parallels with the fortune-teller’s mysterious powers. When coin-activated Rosy Lee looks into the crystal ball, her eyes glow red and she delivers a fortune card to the customer.
‘Collection’ also celebrates affiliation between the Metropole and the Gervasuti Foundation and the artists who have participated in their collaborative projects since 2007.