Friday, September 23, 2011


Leone blu by Liselotte Hohs from ANIMAL MAGNETISM
(Venice, Italy) During the film festival, there are so many collateral events, parties and happenings that it's difficult to physically arrive at them all, let alone write about them. Here are a few standouts:

Liselotte Hohs' whimsical carpet exhibition ANIMAL MAGNETISM is located in one of the most prestigious venues in Venice: the Libreria Sansoviniana, the ancient golden library inside the Biblioteca Marciana, built by the great architect Jacopo Sansovino -- a work that started in 1537 and spanned fifty years. Scattered throughout the historic room are 40 of Liselotte's cheerful animal carpets, inspired by an encounter with a group of Tibetan carpet weavers in 2005, escapees who had fled to India. The quality of the weaving is spectacular -- they used cotton warp and high quality Tibetan or New Zealand woolen woof which they dyed personally; there are 20 Tibetan knots per square centimeter.

From Barbara Rose:
Austrian by birth, Venetian by choice, Liselotte Hohs has travelled the world. In her various adventures to faraway places she has gathered ideas, techniques and materials to use in her art. Indeed, we might say her spiritual nomadism is a precursor of the so-called "globalization of art" of which we hear so much today.

From Erica Jong:
Artists have always loved animals. And animals have always loved artists.
My grandfather, the painter, Samuel Mirsky, used to go to the zoo in Central Park every day after his commissions were done.
I would ask: "Papa, how was the zoo?"
He invariably replied: "The lion wouldn't pose."
But the lion will pose for Liselotte Hohs. The lion is blue like George Gershwin's  "Rhapsody in Blue" -- a happy blue lion of San Marco with a seagull on his back and the New Testament in his right paw. He comes to Venice to bring us happy blues -- blues of the ocean and the sky. ...

Unfortunately I had to dash and couldn't attend the intimate press conference, but I did have the honor of chatting with the delightful Mimi Kilgore, curator of the show and great friend of Liselotte. Mimi regaled me with tales of how she and Liselotte arrived on the scene in Venice years ago, two young women draped in Fortuny.

The star of the show, the Leone Blu, had sold before the exhibit even opened. Click to see some fabulous photos at Contessanally's visual online diary.

ANIMAL MAGNETISM runs through September 30, 2011.

Dragon by Mahdiyar Arab at OPEN 14
Mahdiyar Arab is an ancient spirit in a seven-year-old body. The young sculptor was here with his parents from Iran at the opening party of OPEN 14, the annual outdoor sculpture exhibition conceived and curated by Paolo De Grandis and co-curated by Carlotta Scarpa. In order to talk to Mahdiyar, we had to entice him to stop running around like a normal kid and sit with me on the grass -- the party was at Nicelli del Lido, Venice's private airport. Within a few minutes, Mahdiyar had created a helicopter out of clay, simply by gazing at a real copter and letting his fingers work their magic -- he doesn't look at his hands, he looks at the object.

Mahdiyar Arab
Mahdiyar Arab is the son of an ordinary Iranian couple. His father is a banker, and his mother is a housewife. They sat with me on the grass in an attempt to get Mahdiyar to cooperate with an interview. They spoke Iranian and no English or Italian. An interpreter joined us who could translate Iranian into Italian but not English. Mahdiyar did not want to be there at all, he wanted to play, but he dutifully agree to give me a few moments of his time.

Mahdiyar looked like a normal kid, spoke like a normal kid, but there was most definitely something different about him, and it's not just because he has an IQ of 148. I asked him if he spoke English, and he replied, "No, I do not speak English." Looking into his eyes, listening to him describe his process, he had the confidence of a 40-year-old artist who was channeling energy from the object into his hands and into the clay. Then he morphed back into a 7-year-old kid again, wiggling and squirming and gazing at the other children who are running around the party playing tag. He told me he "feels an object and he creates it." Mahdiyar likes to create primitive animals like dragons and elephants. He does not like to create people. His favorite food is pizza and hot dogs. "Now can I go, Mom?"

OPEN 14 runs through October 2, 2011.

Verso il Vento - Argentine Ushuaia by Virginio Bruni Tedeschi from MONDO  UNO
The opening of the traveling photography installation MONDO UNO by the late Virginio Bruni Tedeschi, "a sailor at heart," at the Giorgio Cini Foundation was a casually elegant fête. The Cini's cloisters had been transformed into a gracious outdoor living room with excellent food and drink, a noble celebration of the photographer's life and work. Virginio was the brother of Carla Bruni, the wife of French President, Nicolas Sarkozy; Virginio died of AIDS in 2006. His mother, Marisa Bruni Tedeschi, is the president of the Virginio Bruni Tedeschi Foundation. Two years after he died, his wife, Isabelle Bezin, "plunged into the 3000 snapshots he took during his numerous travels from Patagonia to India, going by Easter island and Polynesia." Together with Karine Chahin, she created a book that accompanies the exhibition. From Le

The entire profit of the books and photographs sales goes as always to the Virginio Bruni Tedeschi Foundation. This foundation hasFondation Virginio Bruni Tedeschi been created on February 12th 2007 in memory of Virginio Bruni Tedeschi. This non-profit foundation exclusively pursues social solidarity by promoting and developing, through its own resources, projects and initiatives at world level, in the domains of the education, medicine and research.
Following a partnership with Unesco, the foundation is currently committed in four Southern African countries particularly affected by AIDS: Leshoto, Namibia, Angola, and Swaziland. Mondo Uno became a travelling exhibition in order to spread the good word in all four corners of the world.

MONO UNO runs through October 3, 2011.

Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Liselotte Hohs' whimsical carpet exhibition ANIMAL MAGNETISM is located in one of the most prestigious venues in Venice: the Libreria Sansoviniana, the ancient golden library inside the Biblioteca Marciana, built by the great architect Jacopo Sansovino -- a work that started in 1537 and spanned fifty years