Venice. The Historical Archive of the Biennal will host the “Palazzo Grassi Fund – 1984-2005”

The Venice Biennal and Palazzo Grassi announce an agreement thanks to which the “Fondo Palazzo Grassi – 1984-2005” is accepted on loan for free use at the Historical Archive of the Biennale. The agreement refers to the original documentation of Palazzo Grassi at the time of FIAT’s management, from 1984 to 2005.

The Historical Archive of the Biennial, which since 2009 has benefited from a multi-year operation of reorganization and modernization, will make available for consultation the materials of the Palazzo Grassi Fund – 1984-2005 “for scientific purposes by scholars and researchers. The fund, which is not accessible to date, will be subject to prior inventory and reorganization, in accordance with procedures shared between the Historical Archives of the Biennale and Palazzo Grassi. The goods will be delivered to the Historical Archive of the Biennale (VEGA Science and Technology Park, Via delle Industrie 23/9, Porto Marghera, Venice) by the end of the year.

The agreement coincides with the appointment of studies dedicated to the history of Palazzo Grassi, aimed at shedding light on the entire historical event, from its inception to the present day, to demonstrate its exceptional vision and experimental capacity. The first act of the Palazzo Grassi cycle and the history of its exhibitions will take place on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 November 2018, at the Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi, on a project curated by Stefano Collicelli Cagol and entirely produced by Palazzo Grassi with the aim of shedding light on the exhibition events that took place there between the 1950s and 1960s.

Palazzo Grassi

The “Fondo Palazzo Grassi – 1984-2005” includes the complex of the original documentation of Palazzo Grassi at the time of FIAT’s management, from 1984 to 2005: 100 linear metres of unique, technical, autograph paper documents, intimately linked to the genesis of the great exhibitions that have characterised its cultural production.
In 1983 the historic palace on the Grand Canal was acquired by FIAT under the direction of Gianni Agnelli, a lawyer who, following the restoration work by Gae Aulenti, proposes art and archaeology exhibitions inside the building, continuing the tradition of an exhibition centre set up by the International Centre for Arts and Costume, which is still today the vocation and mission of space.
The precious archive collection tells the story of twenty years of history and includes useful material to outline a map of the functioning of an international cultural institution and the relationship between its structure and the FIAT property.
The fund contains documents of fundamental importance for historical and artistic research and the reconstruction of the national exhibition, such as the exhibition projects carried out in those years. More than 40 exhibitions, including contemporary exhibitions and stories of great civilizations, were held at Palazzo Grassi, including several epochs such as Futurism and Futurism (4 May – 12 October 1986), a solo exhibition by Jean Tinguely – A Magic Stronger than Death (15 February – 31 May 1987), Andy Warhol – A Retrospective (25 February – 27 May 1990) presented at the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou (19 June – 10 September 1990), Marcel Duchamp (April 4 – July 18, 1993), Balthus (September 9, 2001 – January 6, 2002) and the last exhibition, the monographic exhibition of Salvador Dalì (September 12, 2004 – January 16, 2005) then set up in the United States at The Philadelphia Museum of Art (February 16 – May 15, 2005). Others exported or directly organized in collaboration with international institutions such as Italian Art in the 20th Century – Painting and Sculpture 1900 – 1988 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (14 January – 9 April 1989); Euphronios Peintre à Athènes au Vie Siècle av. J. – C. at the Musée du Louvre (21 September – 31 December 1991); Il Leone di Venezia at the British Museum (25 October 1990 – 31 January 1991) or Euphronios, der Maler at the Antikenmuseum der Stiftung Preussischen Kulturbesitz in Dahlem, Berlin (20 March – 26 May 1991) and Renaissance – from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo at the National Gallery in Washington (18 December 1994 – 19 March 1995).
In addition to the initiatives carried out, among which stands out for the preciousness of the documentation, the exhibition organized by the Venice Biennale Foundation on the occasion of the 46th. International Art Exhibition Identity and Otherness – Body Figures 1895/1995 (11 June – 15 October 1995) curated by Jean Clair, who celebrated the centenary of the institution, the collection also contains traces of projects that remained only potential, equally interesting for outlining the profile of Palazzo Grassi in those years.
Among the various papers there are also autograph documents by great authors such as Robert Rauschenberg, Eugène Ionesco, John Cage, the architect Gae Aulenti, and personalities from the world of culture, business and politicians such as Georges Pompidou and Gianni Agnelli.
Finally, the correspondence of the director Pontus Hultén (21 June 1924 – 26 October 2006) is particularly valuable, also for its consistency. One of the founders of the Centre Pompidou in the 1970s, Hultén is considered one of the most influential and illustrious museum professionals of the 20th century, at the helm of Palazzo Grassi from 1984 to 1989.




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