Untitled 2020 was the exhibition held in the former Venetian sea-customs Punta della Dogana by the Pinault Collection, due to run until December 13th but which had to be closed ahead of time due to COVID restrictions.
The 3 curators chose a different perspective, a different way to display works of art of nearly 70 artists (several women and Afro American artists) belonging to different generations in order to allow visitors to interact in a more physical and intuitive way with these works of art.
Each room dealt with a specific theme, Standing, Sex, the Beginnings of Painting, Death, Mourning, Elemental, Yelling.
In the room dealing with Yelling besides Betye Saar 8 works of art by the living American artist Llyn Foulkes were displayed (some for the second time in this location after Materia Prima in 2013-2015).
Born in 1934 Llyn Foulkes grew up in Los Angeles. In the 60ties he started using images half surrealistic and half frightening in order to criticize the impoverished American culture and society.
Let us consider Deliverance 2007: a big rectangular work with mixed mediums. Llyn Foulkes integrated and incorporated frequently hair, cotton, wood, found objects and different other materials (once even a dead opossum and a cat).
The evident title points out the present condition, bad and painful, and the need of the artist to free the world from this experience.
Windows in paintings look back on an old tradition starting with Leonardo’s Last Supper to Vermeer, Caravaggio and up to Van Gogh. Here a plain rectangular window opens onto a landscape with a sort of beach and an indefinite rock in the middle. These rocks represent the rocks of Foulkes’ Los Angeles as it was once known before capitalism lead this city to become the second most populated city of USA.
The face of a girl appears, she witnesses what has just happened.
On the right of the window there is a wooden door without a handle and the profile of a man with a gun holding 2 percussion instruments in his hands; the man is the artist himself, also an acclaimed musician who often likes to reply to interviews by ‘singing’ the answers.
He is wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, his head and gun are just outlined with chalk, as if with no real contents.
He has just shot Mickey Mouse, who is lying on the ground with a big hole in his stomach, smoke made out of cotton rises up and he is still holding tight half of a stick he was using like a successful businessman for his charts; however no sheets with statistics are visible.
Images of American icons and pop art such as Mickey Mouse occur often in the works of Foulkes. Mickey Mouse is the most successful example of commercialism, of the success of a corporation such as the Disney corporation that Llyn believes influences and ‘brainwashes’ children’s minds unconsciously from a very young age.
Behind the window there is a dried up tree corresponding to the chart, on the left a picture.
Another important element to appreciate Llyn Foulkes’ work is the light that gives a feeling of dimension that a photo of this work would not convey …
I look forward to guiding you through the next exhibition planned in Dogana for 2021 Bruce Nauman. Contrapposto Studies or anywhere else through Venice.