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Fondazione Prada: Stop Painting

Jul 29, 2021

The exhibition Stop Painting, conceived by the artist Peter Fischli, at Fondazione Prada’s Venetian venue is dedicated to essential ‘ruptures’ in painting.

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Over the past 150 years there have been moments, ruptures if you will, that influenced our way of understanding the medium of painting. These are moments that grapple with the emergence of new social factors and cultural values. The exhibition “Stop Painting” initiated by the artist Peter Fischli at the historic palazzo of Ca’ Corner della Regina, Fondazione Prada’s Venetian venue, is dedicated to investigating essential chapters in painting.

Projecting itself into the dimension of the present and future, the show in question intends to explore current developments. By extension, it attempts to look into how the current digital revolution can also cause a new crisis of painting or, on the contrary, contribute to its renewal. 

At the beginning of the show Fischli questioned: “Was the recurring ghost telling the story of the end of painting a phantom problem? And if yes, can phantoms be real?”. He identified five radical ruptures caused by technological and social changes that marked artistic paradigm shifts through rejection and reinvention of painting. 

The exhibition proves photography to have meant a new chapter in painting. As Rosalind Kraus mentioned, “Photography calls into question the whole concept of the uniqueness of the art object, the originality of the author… and the individuality of so-called self-expression.” Which led painter Paul Delaroche to exclaim for the first time around 1840 the famous and shocking sentence: “From today, painting is dead.” 

The most recent rupture focuses on the crisis of criticism in the so-called late capitalist society, as formulated in the seminal studies by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. “Since the 1980s the idea of an avant-garde became obsolete and dissolved and, again, the end of a critical position in painting was proclaimed”, as noted by Fischli.

This exhibition is devised as a plurality of different narratives told by Fischli in the first person, in a subjective tone. The show begins on the ground floor of Ca’ Corner della Regina with a new site-specific artwork by Fischli that consists of a scaled-down model of the entire project, defined by the artist as “a sculpture of a painting exhibition”. This work is accompanied by texts written by Fischli to illustrate each of the 10 sections of the project, which brings together more than 110 artworks by over 80 artists. “

Stop Painting” unfolds on the first floor of Ca’ Corner della Regina following not a chronological order, but a personal and idiosyncratic approach. The display consists of a system of temporary walls that cross and cut through the spaces, passing through the thresholds that connect the different rooms. The uniform and modernist appearance of these structures is in stark contrast to the frescoes and decorated walls of the central hall on the first floor, echoing the different artistic positions expressed against the medium of painting. 

“Stop Painting” is on show from 22 May to 21 November 2021 at the historic palazzo of Ca’ Corner della Regina, Fondazione Prada’s Venetian venue from accompanied by an illustrated book published by Fondazione Prada. It includes essays by Diedrich Diederichsen, Eva Fabbris, Arthur Fink, Peter Fischli, Mark Godfrey, Boris Groys, John Kelsey, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, and Hanna Magauer, as well as an interview by Mario Mainetti with the exhibition curator.

Credits cover image: Exhibition view of “Stop Painting” Fondazione Prada, Venezia Foto/Photo: Marco Cappelletti Courtesy: Fondazione Prada Michelangelo Pistoletto Vetrina (Oggetti in meno), 1965 – 66.

Exhibition view of “Stop Painting” Fondazione Prada, Venezia, photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy: Fondazione Prada, in the foreground Jean-Frédéric Schnyder Hudel, 1983 – 2004, in the background Jörg Immendorff Wo stehst du mit deiner unst, Kollege?, 1973.
Exhibition view of “Stop Painting”, Fondazione Prada, Venezia, photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy: Fondazione Prada, Wade Guyton Untitled, 2017.
Exhibition view of “Stop Painting”, Fondazione Prada, Venezia, photo: Marco Cappelletti Courtesy: Fondazione Prada, Josh Smith Untitled, 2021.
Exhibition view of “Stop Painting” Fondazione Prada, Venezia, photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy: Fondazione Prada,in the foreground, Peter Fischli Modellone, 2021, in the background Emil Michael Klein, curtain, 2021.
Exhibition view of “Stop Painting”, Fondazione Prada, Venezia, photo: Marco Cappelletti, courtesy: Fondazione Prada. Peter Fischli Modellone, 2021.
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