Let’s explore the fabulous world of super-collector, Christie’s owner, and luxury tycoon, Pinault.The art connoisseur has two exhibitions from his giant collection on showcase. He opened Rudolf Stingel at Palazzo Grassi for the Venice Biennial. For Paris’ chic art fair, Fiac, he opened A’ Triple Tour at Conciergerie.Conciergerie, Pinault’s temporary venue, is former prison. Viewers can see Marie Antoinette’s cell there.In a way, the Parisian show marks a comeback for Pinault. In 2005, he moved his art from Paris to Venice and gave up trying to re-develop the area of Ile Seguin because of its stagnant and bureaucratic nature.On the contrary, Palazzo Grassi hosted many of Pinault’s shows. Alongside Pinault is a show by Punta Del Dogana. The shows are incomparable.Not only is Pinault’s Stingel a site specific show, it’s one of Venice’s most beautiful palaces restored by Tadao Ando. It is surrounded by the magical feeling of the jewel island.The show is mesmerizing. It’s a cross-cultural experience where east meets west with the use of eastern carpets and of western religious icons such as saints.The carpets absolutely engulf the space and are even on the walls and in the elevator!The installation, a repetitive succession of look alike rooms, gives the viewer a sense of getting lost in an Escher like world.

There is a non-invasive presence of ultra-light silver paintings as well which break up the routine of the rooms.The silver paintings are moments and epiphanies, instances of ultra minimalism in a decorative environment. They shine like bright stars among a series of repetitions, a twinkle in the vast cosmos.

The Parisian exhibition, A’ Triple Tour has to do with the theme of confinement. The show is in a dark, red, and gloomy basement commemorated with ghosts of the revolution. Macabre memories of the guillotines and of the executioners fill the air.I respect Pinault’s social commitment to the art world but it’s hard for me to understand why someone would want to own more than 50 artworks dealing with psychological, physical, and ideological imprisonment.I also wondered, ‘how big could the Pinault collection actually be?’

It took me a long time to process Triple’ A Tour and it didn’t satisfy me. It could have been better, harder.I felt that the exhibition lacked research and a more serious and socially responsible approach.It completely left out themes of imprisonment from the last decade such as Guantanamo Bay. I think a Botero painting would have been great.

Among the artwork displayed is an installation from artists ‘Suan Yuan and Peng Yu called, ‘Old Person’s Home’It’s a Cattelan-esque installation made with Madam Tussauds style wax figures of old men representing the high degrees of different religious and political powers.The wax body’s are set up on wheelchairs and move around randomly evoking some kind of grotesque and schizophrenic fun fair.

But after all, long live Pinault. I give him thanks for continuing to share his art experience.

by Fiammetta De Michele

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