Beyond the Irving Penn exhibition @Palazzo Grassi, Venice Italy

Its been a while since my report on the Irving Penn exhibition at Palazzo Grassi in Venice. And its almost two months ago that we had visited Venice (…unbelievable how fast time passes by!). But I don’t want to forget to recommend the second collection of art works that is presented besides the Irving Penn exhibition at Palazzo Grassi until end of this year. The exhibition is entitled “The illusion of light” and deals with all possible ways to alter the human perception with the help of light. It includes a huge amount of fabulous installations – Here are my 3 favorites:

Doug Wheeler

Doug Wheeler, D-N SF 12 PG IV (2012) installation in the atrium of Palazzo Grassi is incredible!, photo@

My first favorite was the immediate start of the exhibition. It was an installation by Doug Wheeler in the atrium of Palazzo Grassi. A giant all white half globe with cold white-blue lightning. Visitors were encouraged to walk in the installations – the deeper one walked the more it felt like leaving a normal room and entering infinity.  Almost impossible to describe, but highly important to experience when in Venice.


Installation “Autoerotic Asphyxiation” by the Berlin-based artist Danh Vo at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, photo@

Another favorite of mine was the installation by Vietnamese artist Danh Vo. I had seen his works  before and considered them as highly touching. At Palazzo Grassi the walls of a whole room were covered with translucent white curtains. Hidden behind those curtains were photographs and letters dating back to different periods in history of Vietnam. One of the written documents is a detailed instruction on how to perform an execution via rope. Its written in a cold almost medical – scientific way. Another one is a letter from a French missionary to his parents in France prior to his execution in Vietnam. In contrast to the “hanging instructions” this letter is written romantic and dreamy. The aspect that touched me about those two documents is that they give two extremely contrasting perspectives on one topic. One is rational – scientific – hypothesis based and the other one is emotional – inspiration based.

Palazzo Grassi

I totally loved the light beam projection “Continuel Lumière Cylindre” by Julio Le Parc, photo@

“Continuel Lumière Cylindre” by Julio Le Parc, where a light beam moves across a circular black canvas creating fabulous OP-ART patterns is the title picture for the exhibition catalog and another favorite installation of mine.

“The illusion of light” runs at Palazzo Grassi, Campo San Samuele, Sestiere San Marco, Venice until end of this year. Its open every day except Tuesday!

Have you already seen the exhibition? What were your favorite installations?


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