59th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia
Bosco Sodi a Palazzo Vendramin Grimani. What Goes Around Comes Around by Daniela Ferretti and Dakin Hart
Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro, Venezia
April 23 – November 27, 2022
Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro presents a new project as a Collateral Event of the 59. International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia by Mexican artist Bosco Sodi at Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, located on the Grand Canal in the center of Venice, Italy from 23 April until 27 November 2022. Curated by Daniela Ferretti and Dakin Hart, the solo exhibition dedicated to Sodi’s painting and sculpture titled Bosco Sodi a Palazzo Vendramin Grimani What Goes Around Comes Around will be preceded by a period of residency by the artist on site at the palazzo.
Bosco Sodi will be based in Venice between February and March, working on-site in the palazzo’s ground floor space which has been partially transformed into a studio. There, the artist will realize some works for the exhibition, drawing on Venice’s unique history as a dynamic hub for cultural and commercial exchanges between Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world.
Bosco Sodi (b. 1970) is celebrated internationally for his use of raw, natural materials in large-scale textured paintings and sculpture that brim with emotive power. The essential simplicity of his materials and the vivid pigments he sources from around the globe are the focus of his process-based exploration of the creative gesture. Sodi has described his creative process as a “controlled chaos” that makes “something that is completely unrepeatable.”
The careful selection and use of precious pigments is one of the characteristics of Sodi’s art: some of them have a rich historical background. Among those, the pigment derived from cochineal is a fitting example. Before the invention of synthetic pigments, the colour obtained from cochineal was the international standard for red. The luxurious red fabrics that dot Titian’s canvases are, quite literally, appropriations from the Americas. Cochineal, which is still produced in Oaxaca (Mexico), has recently seen an increase in demand, thanks to the growing demand for natural pigments.
In the installation for Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, visitors will witness an abrupt reversal of that ancient flow of trade between Europe and the Americas. The opulent interiors of merchant houses like Palazzo Vendramin Grimani preserve the memory of what was, historically, a one-way flow of materials. Sodi’s temporary occupation of the palazzo’s walls and floors with works closely linked to the material instinct that produces them will lead to a sort of ‘revenge’ of all that is raw, unprocessed.
On the ground floor of the building, the artist will set up his studio between the end of February and March 2022, to produce paintings on site using his usual technique of depositing layers of a mixture of wood dust, cellulose pulp, glue and pigment on canvas. The canvases will then be left to rest on the ground floor, exposed to the atmosphere of the lagoon for a few weeks. The works will then be moved to the first floor to be exhibited in the imposing rooms of the piano nobile. The rough, intensely coloured surfaces that are typical of Bosco Sodi will thus form a contrast with the monumental spaces of the drawing room and the side rooms, with the colours of their plasterwork and tapestries, with the textures of the Venetian terrazzo floors, with the reflections of mirrors clouded by time, with the ceilings decorated with neoclassical frescoes, thick wooden beams or eighteenth-century stuccoes, and with the shimmering light streaming through the windows overlooking the Grand Canal.
In addition, in parallel with the installation of the works made on site, Sodi will place 195 small clay spheres on the floor of the exhibition spaces, moulded from the soil of Oaxaca and baked there in an improvised oven on the beach. The figure corresponds to the current number of nation-states on Earth. Each visitor will be invited to move one of the miniature globes during his or her visit. In this way the installation will change a little every day and the different locations of the globes will be periodically photographed in order to document the evolution of the work. At the end of the exhibition, residents of the city of Venice who visit the space will be able to take a sphere with them, thus completing a new, though still largely enigmatic, circuit of exchange.