Francesco Vezzoli and Paul P.

Francesco Vezzoli and Paul P.

The Power Plant

September 8, 2007

The Power Plant, Toronto
8 September – 4 November, 2007

Francesco Vezzoli: A True Hollywood Story!
The centerpiece of Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli’s exhibition at The Power Plant is the North American premiere of the film installation Marlene Redux: A True Hollywood Story!, 2006. The mock documentary tracks Vezzoli’s life and art career, the plot hinging on coverage of a fictional project by Vezzoli, an implausible remake of Maximilian Schell’s 1984 documentary Marlene about Marlene Dietrich. All works in the exhibition relate to the film’s plot and survey Vezzolis career from 1995 to the present, while being framed within a kitsch television entertainment format.

Known for his enduring interest in celebrity, Vezzoli presented Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidals Caligula, at the 2005 Venice Biennale and is representing Italy at this year’s Biennale with Democrazy, featuring Sharon Stone and Bernard-Henri Lévy. Caligula included a cameo role for Vezzoli in a form of Hollywood debut. He has frequently included himself, moving from a character on the edges of the action in his early films to playing the protagonist in The End of the Human Voice, 2001. With Marlene Redux Vezzoli becomes his own subject in a film that traces his rise and demise, emulating the E! True Hollywood format.

Part fact and part fiction the film surveys much of Vezzoli’s practice including his embroidered portraits of female cinematic icons and his films, making much of the impact of Caligula on his career. The film also dwells on Vezzoli’s supposed remake of Marlene and features “recovered footage” of actors playing Marlene Dietrich and Anni Albers, the celebrated German weaver and wife of abstract painter Josef Albers. Like the Caligula remake, which exists only as a trailer, the Marlene remake exists only as recovered footage. Much of the work featured in the exhibition relates to the Marlene remake, as if the film exists. Instead the exhibition includes embroidered interpretations of Josef Albers series Homage to the Square, begun by Vezzoli in 1995, as if leading to the remake of Marlene. The associations with Dietrich and Albers continue the web of associations that Vezzoli has built around his identity, as an artist who simultaneously plays, invents and deconstructs himself.

‘Francesco Vezzoli: A True Hollywood Story!’ is curated by Gregory Burke, Director of The Power Plant and is presented in association with the Toronto International Film Festival’s Future Projections.

The Power Plant gratefully acknowledges the support of The Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto and Supporting Sponsor, Z Zegna.

A catalogue will be launched in association with the exhibition featuring essays by Gregory Burke, Gianfranco Maraniello and David Rimanelli.

Paul P.: Dusks, Lamplights
The second solo show this fall is by Canadian painter Paul P., known for his portraits of beautiful young men. ‘Dusks, Lamplights’ brings together oil paintings, pastels, watercolours, drawings and prints, made over the past three years.

Basing many of his figures on models in soft porn magazines from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Paul P. evokes a ‘golden age’ of sexuality, at the height of gay liberation and before the AIDS crisis. In ‘Dusks, Lamplights’ with Venice as a recurrent backdrop and the works of Whistler as influence, Paul P. depicts androgynous models swooning, waiting and peering expectantly from windows. Metaphors for the collapse of two epochs–Europe before WWI and North America before AIDS– Paul P. captures the brilliance of their final exhausted moments.

Paul P. was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and currently lives in Paris. His work has featured in recent solo exhibitions at Daniel Reich Gallery, New York, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, and in group shows at Mary Boone Gallery and David Zwirner and the recent exhibition ‘The Male Gaze’ at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. In 2006, P. collaborated with designer Hedi Slimane on the spring Dior Homme campaign, which was inspired by his drawings.

‘Dusks, Lamplights’ is curated by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs.

Thanks to Supporting Donors Robert Mitchell and the Families of Steven & Michael Latner.
The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto ON Canada M5J 2G8

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September 8, 2007

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