55th Venice Biennale. The Red Book.

3° FLASH FORWARD to the Venice of Contemporary Art_ by martina cavallarin
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 09:00 to Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 20:00

Massimiliano Gioni is setting up an arena that most likely has no precedent, an exhibition with lots of research and cataloging, both diachronic and synchronic, where genres and sub-genres are mixed together in an extraordinary melting pot.

One of the artists invited, or the works chosen, in this case should I say, was born in 1800, nearly two centuries ago. Yet what matters, in my opinion, is not the date of birth, the registrar, but the research, the freshness of the finding and that the artist, with his work, can still move an audience. The poetry in it all is that there are many older upcoming artists and a plethora of young artists that have been around for ages, so many that they can line up, and still not even rank among the best of creative talent.

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in the last book written together, What is Philosophy (1991), theorize the interplay of the three disciplines of knowledge - philosophy, art and science. It imposes once again that the linguistic and cultural nomadism plants the possibility of a broader vision that thrives on plans and counterplans.

Massimiliano Gioni working in that sense puts Red Book, or Libro Novo, by Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) in the center of the International Festival.  The book, composed of calligraphic text and illustrations from the period of 1914 and 1930, was conceived by the Swiss psychiatrist after the break from Sigmund Freud. The work has been hidden by its heirs up until 2001 and finally published by Bollati Boringhieri just recently in 2009.

Dreams and visions of these pages will occupy the center stage of the Palace of Expositions intertwining along with the other worldly paintings by the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862) who was inspired by voices from another world, the Tarot cards of Aleister Crowley, the drawings designed to stop cancer by  Guo Fengyi, the drawings of animals inspired by the bestiary of Borges by Christina Solou  and other works that go as far out to the father of anthroposophy, the philosopher and pedagogue Rudolph Steiner.

The anthropological approach and a sharp focus on the figure of the self-taught are the fractals to the umpteenth degree making for a Biennale which is certainly mysterious, spiritual and animist, at least with its layout and conception that Massimiliano Gioni presents to us, mixing genres and subgenres, following the traces of the Red Book of Carl Gustav Jung.


Rudolf Steiner

Drawings on a blackboard, 1923

Chalk on black paper

102 x 153 x 3,8 cm

Courtesy Rudolf Steiner Archive, Dornach, Switzerland


Carl Gustav Jung

The Red Book [page 655], 1915-1959

Paper, ink, tempera, gold paint, red leather binding

40 x 31 x 10cm

© 2009 Foundation of the Works of C.G. Jung, Zürich. First published by W.W. Norton & Co., New York 2009