Contemporary Dialogues with Tintoretto: an Interview with Alessandro Possati, Founder and Director of Zuecca Projects

by Mara Sartore
November 19, 2018
Mara Sartore

Mara Sartore: The exhibition takes part in the celebrations for the 500th anniversary since the birth of Jacapo Tintoretto. How did the idea come about to create a dialogue between the 16th century Venetian master and contemporary artists?

Alessandro Possati: It came about through a collaboration with the American Foundation for the Safeguarding of Venice’s Historical Heritage, SAVE VENICE. The Director Frederick Ilchman (also Chair of Art of Europe at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts) put forward the idea of contextualising Tintoretto’s work within an international contemporary art context.

Mara Sartore: How did the collaboration with the curator Ludovico Pratesi come about? How did you organise this project together?

Alessandro Possati: Departing from a talk which had been previously organised with the curator Ludovico Pratesi and Gabriella Belli, the director of MUVE on the topic of how light is used in the painting of the contemporary Italian artist, Luigi Carboni, to which it is central to his work. Together with the Curator we made in-depth research into the life and career of Tintoretto, selecting a vast body of work from which to draw upon, we decided therefore to focus on one of the most characteristic aspects of his work: portraiture. In fact, Tintoretto, despite receiving increasingly prestigious commissions during his career, has always been considered an unparalleled master in the realisation of portraits that, despite the fame of his established “Atelier”, always and exclusively by himself.

Mara Sartore: How does the itinerary and the dialogue develop between the modern and the contemporary in the exhibitions at Palazzo Ducale and Galleria Franchetti?

Alessandro Possati: The itinerary unfolds as an educational pathway: starting with the historic aspect of the retrospective with the major works by Tintoretto, paying particular attention to the portraits gallery at Palazzo Ducale (portraiture is the focus for our dialogue with the contemporary works) and, at the end of the exhibition we continue towards the Quarantia Civil Vecchia where the two discs of Emilio Vedova are placed, the first contemporary artist included in the exhibition, at the end of the pathway in the Sala del Maggior Consiglio, one is confronted by the greatness of Il Paradiso. The itinerary then continues at Galleria Giorgio Franchetti in Ca ‘D’oro where the 12 meticulously selected contemporary portraits interact with the Portrait of the Procurator Nicolò Priuli di Tintoretto, offering an overview of the contemporary pictorial panorama.

Mara Sartore: The project involves a network that unites independent spaces like yours, Zuecca Projects, private collections like AmC Collezione Coppola, Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection, and galleries such as Gagosian, Massimo De Carlo and Victoria Miro Gallery, and that together with Venetian museum institutions have contributed to the concrete realisation of this exhibition. Could you tell us something about this network?

Alessandro Possati: Since its conception, Zuecca Projects main objective has been to create links between local institutions and international cultural realities. This mission finds its perfect implementation in this project. The network has developed thanks to the organisation’s 10 year experience and the bonds which have formed over time.

Mara Sartore: How do the artists involved in the exhibition express how they’ve been influenced by the Venetian master in their work? Is there any particular work you are attached to?

Alessandro Possati: Each of the selected artists draws on different aspects of portraiture. I am particularly attached to the work of Michael Borremans, The Measure II, for the rarity of his artistic production; reason why we are honoured to be able to present it in the exhibition. In addition, I would also like to mention Glenn Brown’s opera Nostalgia because the artist, throughout his career, has profoundly and explicitly drawn upon the imaginary of classical art, with surprising contemporary reinterpretations.

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