I guess that visitors to most Venice palazzi came along the canals in their own barges or by gondola, so visitors today who come from the street side find discrete narrow entrances, sometimes, as with the Palazzo Mora, through a garden, which gives visiting a different dynamic to that of centuries ago. One of the joys of exhibitions running in parallel with the Biennale in Venice is the interrelationship of contemporary art with grand palazzi and other historic interiors.
There is a mystery about the Palazzo Mora in Venice: is the fine first floor ceiling fresco by Tiepolo himself or was it painted by a follower in his style? The palazzo was acquired in 1718 from its previous owners by the Moro family who then created the palazzi we see today through the interconnection of two adjacent buildings, which results in an interior which goes up and down staircases and has all sorts of nooks and crannies – which is great if you are holding an art exhibition and want a variety of different spaces.
The fresco in question was painted around 1720-1770 and is in Tiepolo’s, so could well be by the man itself, but in some ways it does not matter; the enjoyment here is exploring the art in this year’s exhibition ‘Personal Structures – Identities’ organised by the European Cultural Centre, along with the three national pavilions of Kiribati, the Republic of the Seychelles and of Mozambique, within the historic interiors of the palazzi. Underneath the ‘Tiepolo’ ceiling are a range of works including Amaud Nazare-Aga’s ‘Sumo Totem ‘Vision’’, Ute Krautkremer’s ‘Strange Connections (red)’ and Maria Wolfram’s ‘Walk with me’, while an adjacent corridor is filled with Martine Selbert-Raken’s whispy ‘Once upon a Time, Part 10’, with changing light as the sun moves round outside the windows.
This is the start of a large and innovative show in which no space, no corridor and no staircase landing is left empty, bursting as they are with art from around the world, starting in the garden with, for example, Manfred Kielnhofer’s ‘Guardians of Time’, Concalo Mahunda’s ‘Processors of the Present’, Gregory Orekhov’s ‘Agatha in Pink’ and Alberto Echegaray Guevara’s ‘Global Lie, Power and Corruption Pinocchio’. In these first four works alone, we have artists from Austria, Mozambique, Russia and Argentina, providing a taster for what we will see inside while the variety of spaces allows installations, videos and works of different types, one of the most fascinating being Purvis Young’s “globe>miami<island” part of a mural installation created for the Bass Museum of Art in Miami and here sitting within another historic painted interior – strange bedfellows indeed, but that is what makes the Palazzo Mora such a fascinating venue and ‘Personal Structures – Identities’ such a fascinating exhibition, one of three that the European Cultural Centre has organised this year, the others being in the Palazzo Bembo and Giardini Marinaress.