May 28, 2011 - Art At Work - Ian Kiaer’s Il baciamano
May 28, 2011

Ian Kiaer’s Il baciamano

Ian Kiaer, project for “Il Baciamano”, 2011.
Courtesy Art At Work

On the occasion of 54. Esposizione d’Arte de la Biennale di Venezia
Art At Work presents
Il baciamano
a project by IAN KIAER
with the support of Alison Jacques Gallery
June 1–26, 2011

May 31st, 6pm
Private preview by invitation June 1st, 10–12am

Opening times:
Tues–Sun, 10am 6pm, Monday closedFondazione Querini Stampalia
Palazzo Querini Stampalia, Santa Maria Formosa
Castello 5252, 30122, Venice

Ian Kiaer is an artist who creates with drawings, left-over objects and odd pieces of material imaginary and symbolic situations marked by a specific painterly quality. These propositions composed by objects, models and paintings create a space of suspension, which after quiet observation slowly transform into kinds of emotional landscapes, in which a piece of metal might evoke the opening of a room and an empty box a stage. In Kiaer’s work multiple references to figures and specific concepts taken from the history of architecture, literature and philosophy, intuitively create connections between apparently contrasting arguments. Il baciamano (A Nobleman Kissing a Lady’s Hand) develops through the models of two complex figures, the Venetian genre painter Pietro Longhi (1702–1785) and the architect Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978), also born in Venice, known for his minimal interventions in the field of restoration and museum design.

Both Longhi and Scarpa are closely linked to the Querini Stampalia, but more relevant for Kiaer is the way in which they both can be seen to operate within a notion of the “minor form”, characterized by an attention towards the idea of marginal gestures and intimate changes of register. Kiaer’s concerns have often turned on thinking around painting as a kind of redundant model, and its potential to draw on the different modes and functions apparent in the model, whether representational, experimental or in some way utopian. In Scarpa, there is a modular complexity to his organisation of spaces and material, whether working with water, stone or organic matter. There appears to be a rational in the way he makes decisions, yet one that resists technical definition in favour of a form of poetics. Hence his work, though operating within a recognisably reductionist modernist canon, touches on decor and whimsy, and a pleasure in what might be termed the “exquisite.” This and the way he arranges the movement of visitors around the spaces of the Querini Stampalia reveal a sensitivity to heightened social exchange that draws him close to the concerns of Longhi.

Longhi was long dismissed in the 19th century as a “petit-maitre,” the charming illustrator of a declining society. Kiaer identifies in this misrecognition the significance and potential of the minor form. “I’m interested in what he has to say about decay- and how such decay contributes to thinking about what is presently possible for painting, as a kind of redundant mode. With subtle gestures and arrested glances made by people in silks and lowered masks, he seems to be aiming for a kind of “tone” or “timbre” that is not so easily read. It is in the marginal, the minor, that I think there is still something interesting to find as an alternative to the demand of progress, or supposed relevance. I’m interested in what Longhi paintings might prompt in conjunction with the intimate modular gestures of Scarpa.” (Ian Kiaer, London, November 2010)

For Press contact:
Simona Cupoli
+39 333 6584092
+39 011 19715285/011 19715876

Ian Kiaer's Il baciamano
Art At Work
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