Original text by Lunettes Rouges, translation by Miss XS
So, on the last level of the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (until the 8th of May), Michelangelo Penso has installed one of his giant 24-metre mathematical-biological representations. A hammock made from strips of interlaced rubber is suspended from the ceiling like an enigmatic monster with disturbing excrescences that are perhaps sexual, but not very sensual (Circuito genetico RSBP*). This soft whale-skeleton, this giant outlet of restraint, in tension and limpness, is a phantasmagorical translation of DNA whereby the slices of glass in a cabinet are the source. They are installed in a luminous piece with dilapidated inner walls where the trace of time is somewhat inscribed in the leper mural, and where triangles painted red punctuate the inside surface here and there, but are only here to signal the extinguishers…
The contrast between this giant piece and the more discreet works scattered here and there (little drawings over pieces of text stuck into the pages of moleskin diaries) is striking.
The far end of the hall shows, on a red screen (that is a lot less dilapidated than the walls), other floating forms, whereby we take as much pleasure in seeing their shadows as the sculptures themselves.
Additionally, at the Palazzo Fortuny, although I was hardly sensitive to Roberta di Camerino’s dresses, I was seduced by the L’automa path concocted by Paolo Ventura on the ground level: series of photographs of building models and little figures, recounting an episode of Venice’s ghetto during the war, creating a somber and mysterious atmosphere. It’s an interesting work exploring the duality between the dioramas constructed by the artist in his studio and his photographs, even if it would have probably been more oneiric to omit the ‘making-of.’
* RSBP : Registry of Standard Biological Parts (M.I.T.)
Photos 1, 2 & 5, courtesy of the Fortuny Museum. Photos 3 & 4 by the author.