A strong relationship connects one of the most important French artists of the postwar period, Jean Dubuffet, to the city of Venice. The show intends to celebrate and remember the importance of two famous exhibitions in Venice that shaped Dubuffet's artistic career. The exhibition is organised by ACP with the valuable collaboration of the Dubuffet Foundation.
Jean Dubuffet chose Venice twice in order to present his work, exhibiting at Palazzo Grassi in 1964 and at the French Pavilion of the 1984 Biennale. This time, his works will be on display in the stunning rooms of the main floor of Palazzo Franchetti, a prestigious 15th century palazzo overlooking the Canal Grande.
Through the recall of Palazzo Grassi and the French Pavilion, the exhibition at Palazzo Franchetti presents the three most important series of Dubuffet's work: Célébration du sol, Hourloupe, and Mires. The first series dates back to the 1950s when Dubuffet increased his research about the endless possibilities of the matter. Matériologies and Texturlogies belong to this group. Hourloupe is the core of Dubuffet's research "that guided his previous and following production", as stated by Daniel Abadie. The artist worked on this series between 1962 and 1974, presenting it for the first time at Palazzo Grassi. With approximately 20 selected works, this section explores the questioning of the normal perception of the real world using fluid lines constantly changing in the viewer's gaze. His art is crowded, emotionally charged, almost loud, as the word Hourloupe implies, from the French world tourlouper meaning 'to deceive'. Thus it implies a capability to create a brand new universe that penetrates reality. Various interesting sculptures belong to this series, such as the monumental work in the garden of Palazzo Franchetti, a rare green haven in the heart of Venice facing directly onto the Canal Grande close to the Accademia bridge.
The exhibition is rendered complete with roughly 15 works from the Mires series dating back to the 1980s and characterised by vibrant colours and flowing brushstrokes that break the painting's physical limits. These are works that were chosen by the artist to officially represent his native country of France at the 1984 Venice Biennale. The exhibition is enriched by a chosen selection of drawings, gouaches and documents related to the shows from 1964 and 1984 featuring photographs, letters and articles that bear witness also to Dubuffet's musical experiments.
As such, Dubuffet a Venezia seeks to give a complete portrait of the artist as a true experimenter who had the courage to diverge from traditions that he perceived to be dry and limiting, turning to an emotional and psychological use of painting with spectacular results.