Intrecciare la Memoria
Intrecciare la Memoria (Interlacing Memory) is a unique exhibition relaying the rich history of lace making and its delicate craft, harbored in the Venice lagoon’s island of Burano. On show in Venice at Fondamenta Sant’Anna 994 from the 2nd to the 29th of September 2023, “Intrecciare la Memoria” will feature photographs on Murano Glass plates by Marcin Gierat along with a selection of artworks by Sebastian Wywiórski. Curated by Alessandro Possati and Marica Denora, it is the third in a series of exhibitions dedicated to Italian craftsmanship traditions developed by Marcin Gierat and Zuecca Projects.
A Polish photographer, Marcin Gierat was the winner of the Bonham’s Prize for The Venice Glass Week, Special Recognition in 2020 with his project about the glassmakers of Murano. He dedicated these new works – created thanks to the support of the Fondazione Andriana Marcello – to the vanishing art of lace-making developed on the island of Burano, Italy. Through his lens, Marcin captures the intricate beauty and the stories of the last six women having studied at the famous Burano Lace School (1872-1970) that still to this day practice their centuries-old traditions.
Image courtesy of Marcin Gierat
The photographic process employed by Gierat is unique. Utilizing the Wet Collodion technique, he creates images on handmade Murano Glass plates, specifically realized for the photographer’s purpose. The color of the glass plates – Laguna Green – is fully intentional: it represents not only the waters of the Venetian lagoon, but also the carta verde, the green paper sheet used by the lacemakers, along with the yellow carta paglia, to realize the lace-works. Due to the unique technique used by Gierat, the lacemakers portraits appear on the green glass in silver, almost white in color— just like the lace on carta verde. The result of this meticulous process is a series of portraits that exude an extraordinary ambiance; the time it takes is representative of the very time-consuming process of the lacemaking itself. Each photograph captures not only the image, but also encapsulates the dedication, skill and passion of these artisans, preserving their legacy for generations to come.
In dialogue with Gierat’s works, the artworks by the Polish artist Sebastian Wywiórski act like the interconnected structure of lace, tying and reinforcing the relationship of the lace-making with the water that surrounds the lagoon of Venice and its green shade.
Sebastian Wywiórski, XXIII, 2023. From See, the Sea cycle. Courtesy of the artist
Water is one of the subjects that intrigues Wywiórski the most. In his “See, the Sea” painting cycle, the artist attempts to find a way to record the essence of water and capture the complex phenomenon. As stated by Wywiórski “water circumfuses and takes on the form of the neighboring world. It gains colour by absorption, by dissolution of elements of the surroundings, or acquires it by reflexes and reflection. The cycle refers to the fundamental role that water plays in processes transpiring in the world – processes related to its renewing, cleansing, yet also destructive power”. Water and its movement push the artist to develop the kinetic picture series “Unobvious Subtlety of Movement” included in the exhibition through the work “Waterfall Q” and its green surface in constant movement.
Closely linked to the vanishing portraits by Gierat and the function of the carta verde and carta paglia that turn the lace more visible during the process of its creation, Wywiórski’s installation “Sea” consists of a film projection that records the movement of the sea, overlapped by a stream of intense light that covers and burns out the imagery completely. Only the intervention of the viewer, stepping between the spotlight and the projection, reveals with his shadow the continuously playing film. Allowing only the process of looking into his own shadow to see the picture, the work acts as a metaphor for the artist to investigate his own memory to reveal images and messages from the past as a source of reference.
Sebastian Wywiórski, Sea, 2023. Courtesy of the artist
The exhibition aims to raise awareness on the endangered craft of lace making, shedding light on the importance of preserving cultural traditions as it serves as a tribute to the resilience and artistry of the lace makers who have kept their heritage alive despite the challenges of modern times.
We would like to thank for their precious support: Associazione Merlettaie (Daniela Battain, Mary Costantini, Sandra Mavaracchio, Romana Memo, Lorena Novello, Alda Trevisan), Fondazione Andriana Marcello, Burano Lace Museum.
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Intrecciare la Memoria
September 2 – 29, 2023
Opening: September 2, h 5.30 pm
Fondamenta Sant’Anna 994, Castello 30122, Venice
Open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm. Free entry