‘Luogo e Segni’, conceived by Mouna Mekouar, independent curator, and Martin Bethenod, Director of Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana, is the seventh exhibition to be presented at Punta della Dogana from its opening as an exhibition space of the Pinault Collection, ten years ago, in 2009.

Named after an artwork by Carol Rama displayed in the exhibition, ‘Luogo e Segni’ presents over 100 works by 36 artists, among whom 17 are presented for the first time in a Pinault Collection exhibition in Venice including, among others; Berenice Abbot, Liz Deschenes, Trisha Donnelly and R. H. Quaytman. Among those, 3 have taken part in the artist residency programme promoted by the Pinault Collection in Lens: Lucas Arruda, Hicham Berrada and Edith Dekyndt.

‘Luogo e Segni’ is an itinerary through some inner geography where nature, creation and poetry intertwine, and draws particular inspiration from the writings of the poet and artist Etel Adnan, with whom many artists on display share a very strong connection. Echoing Etel Adnan’s poetry, the exhibition evokes the seemingly elusive character of natural elements, staging the various atmospheric changes and the environmental transformations that pervade Punta della Dogana: the azure of the sky and the obscurity of the night, the light and the dark, the brightness and the glow, the wind and the sea, the sounds and the scents.

The memory of places is one of the leitmotivs of ‘Luogo e Segni’. The memory of past exhibitions, such as ‘Garden of Memory’ that brought together in 2018 Etel Adnan, Simone Fattal and Robert Wilson at the musée Yves Saint Laurent marrakech, in Marrakech. Visual, but also aural, olfactory, tactile, musical, literary memory. Memory of cities, Beirut, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Lahore, Sarajevo. The memory of Venice and its many overlapping eras. The memory of Punta della Dogana, with its emblematic artworks by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roni Horn, Sturtevant, Tatiana Trouvé, Rudolf Stingel, Nina Canell… that connect ‘Luogo e Segni’ to the past exhibitions of the Pinault Collection, highlighting their echoes and resonances.

Another theme, closely related to the former, is that of the special affinity that binds the artists, between them and to Etel Adnan in particular, be it of mutual esteem and inspiration or a more intimate bond, friendship or love. Roni Horn and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Simone Fattal and Etel Adnan, Liz Deschenes and Berenice Abbott, Tacita Dean and Julie Mehretu, Philippe Parreno and Etel Adnan but also works resulting from the collaboration between Anri Sala and Ari Benjamin Meyers, or Charbel-joseph H. Boutros and Stéphanie Saadé… All these ‘conversations’ map the implicit geography of a cohesive way of thinking between individualities coming from different horizons but all inhabited by poetry.


Poetry stands at the heart of the ‘Luogo e Segni’ exhibition, through the verses of Etel Adnan or Emily Dickinson, through the words of Ibn Arabi, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ezra Pound, Fernando Pessoa, Susan Howe, Philippe Jaccottet, Giorgio Caproni… chosen by the artists to converse with their works in the catalogue.

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