Sunday, July 7, 2013

Venice Gets a New Theater - Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi

Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi - Photo Artribune
(Venice, Italy) Imagine walking along the street and seeing a door that you have never seen before. Imagine going through that door and finding yourself inside a fabulous, magical space. And then imagine that inside that space, behind another door, is a theater, and there is a haunting movie looping that you can watch for free.

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
Thanks to François Pinault, the French billionaire and art collector, that fantasy is a reality. After thirty years of neglect, Teatrino, the theater next to Palazzo Grassi, has been spectacularly restored by Tadao Ando, the renowned self-taught Japanese architect. From Wikipedia:

"The simplicity of his architecture emphasizes the concept of sensation and physical experiences, mainly influenced by the Japanese culture. The religious term Zen, focuses on the concept of simplicity and concentrates on inner feeling rather than outward appearance. Zen influences vividly show in Ando’s work and became its distinguishing mark."

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
The Teatrino does feel very Zen, and that's a great thing. The theater was once a Romantic garden, then an outdoor open theater, then a closed theater, then abandoned in 1983. Now it's an 225 seat auditorium that can be used for theatrical performances and screenings, and a foyer that can be used for parties and exhibitions. It reminded me of a mini Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles, and I can imagine all sorts of very cool happenings taking place at Teatrino.

Palazzo Grassi Teatrino
So, what movie was looping when I arrived? Marilyn, a 23 minute piece by Philippe Parreno, which I found absolutely riveting. From the handout:

"Marilyn (2012) is a work focused on the idea of celebrating a dead person, of portraying a ghost. It is a fictitious evocation of Marilyn Monroe, the icon of popular culture, and is set in the suite of the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where the actress lived in the 1950s. The three algorithms that are used in biometrics to identify an individual, and which respectively correspond to the voice, the handwriting, and iris recognition, reproduce Marilyn's presence. The camera sees with her eyes, a computer reconstructs her voice to describe what the eyes see, and a robot writes with her calligraphy what the voice says. Through the use of a mathematical equation and robotics, the work produces a figure that is almost human -- in the words of the artist "an embodied image." Philippe Parreno has exceptionally agreed to present this work in a screening room, even though it is usually displayed in a proper exhibition space, in the conditions of appearing and disappearing that the work requires."

Photo - The Art Newspaper
When the camera dollies back at the end, showing you what is really going on behind the scenes, the effect is stunning. Parreno said he found it interesting that a little [mathematical] equation could recreate something resembling a human, something quasi-human.

If you are in Venice this week, you can see Marilyn tomorrow, and then again next Sunday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Wednesday and Friday The Sorks: A Concert for Creatures by Loris Gréaud is playing (22 minutes), and on Thursday and Saturday it's 1395 Days Without Red (43 minutes) by Anri Sala, the artist who represents France at this year's Biennale. The films close on Sunday, July 14th, but there will be more films, and jazz, and conferences and classical music at Teatrino -- Circuito Off, the Venice International Short Film Festival will take place there on August 28 through August 31, and that is an excellent venue for it. Click here to view the calendar.

Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi - FB
I love Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi. The building itself is a work of art.

Information: www.palazzograssi.it

Ciao from Venice,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Imagine walking along the street and seeing a door that you have never seen before. Imagine going through that door and finding yourself inside a fabulous, magical space. And then imagine that inside that space, behind another door, is a theater, and there is a haunting movie looping that you can watch for free.

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