Friday, October 7, 2011


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art and Mystery in Venice:

Come and see what the great Belgian antique and art dealer Axel Vervoordt has been up to lately. And you'll find my list of highlights for the Venice Biennale.
Brilliant Axel Vervoordt created the inspiring TRA: Edge of Becoming exhibit at the Palazzo Fortuny, recently renovated.  It's a dazzling and thought-provoking jewel of this year's brilliant Venice Biennale, which continues through November.

Axel Vervoordt is a favorite style-setter and ideas generator for THE STYLE SALONISTE readers.
 Vervoordt’s antique-filled Antwerp castle, his art galleries, the gardens with Jacques Wirtz, the luxe color-modulated interiors he has created around the world, have all been documented in his books over the last decade.
For the last few years, Axel has been involved in provocative and addictive exhibits that take over the hauntingly beautiful Palazzo Fortuny every two years. I was in Venice recently to view and enjoy highlights of the Biennale, the lively arts and cultural event that runs through November.
First on my list to view was Axel’s new collection, TRA: Edge of Becoming, a mind-bending collage of 150 pieces of sculpture, paintings, video, installations, Japanese traditional structures, textiles, antiques, archaeological digs.
Come with me for a visit to this rare and wonderful cabinet of curiosities. And if you can’t travel to Venice before November, the is a highly collectible book of the exhibit. Axel wrote the highly personal and informative text. Check on, and send a book request to You’ll treasure it.
I arrived in Venice this summer after the first crush of the ravenous art crowd had ‘done the Biennale’ and departed. By the time I stepped onto the airport water taxi, Venice had fare-welled (with some measure of relief) the Russian oligarchs in aircraft carrier-sized yachts. Art collectors, curators, art groupies, artists and their fellow-travelers had had their fill of parties and vernissages and headed home. All was quiet.
On my list to view: the new Punta della Dogana (architecture by Tadao Ando), Barry X. Ball’s allusive sculptures at Ca’ Rezzonico,  Anish Kapoor’s on-again, off-again magic act at San Giorgio Maggiore, everything at Arsenale (especially Urs Fischer’s wax sculpture tour de force), and the newly unveiled Prada Foundation collection.
And my major focus: Vervoordt’s TRA: The Edge of Becoming, at the Palazzo Fortuny.
“We gave TRA the subtitle Edge of Becoming as it represents a state of infinite becoming, a moment when you’re standing on the edge of the past and present, and looking forward to the future, through these works of art. The exhibit explored the possibility of space and energy and the potential for transformation in ever single moment.”—Axel Vervoordt.
Among the artists represented are Mark Rothko, Antoni Tapies, Anish Kapoor, Marina Abramovic, Shirin Neshat, Otto Piene, Kazuo Shiraga, Jef Verheyen, Louise Bourgeois, James Turrell, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and a series of Japanese and Thai masters.
It’s an exhibit that invites a viewer to linger, ponder, experience, stop time, go into a dream state, and disappear from the world for a few hours.

The Details:

The accomplished curatorial team for TRA: Edge of Becoming is composed of  Daniela Ferretti, director of Palazzo Fortuny; Rosa Martínez, independent curator and art advisor; Francesco Poli, philosopher and art history professor, and Axel Vervoordt, president of the Axel Vervoordt Foundation.

TRA: Edge of Becoming

Palazzo Fortuny, San Marco 3780, San Beneto, Venice

4 June – 27 November 2011

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