Venice is a magical city. Its streets, alleys and canals form a maze to be explored and history literally drips from the walls. Whether its womanizer Casanova’s old haunts, ceremonial buildings built for the republic’s government or simply the sites of trysts between young lovers, every building has a story to tell. Add in the unique architecture drawing influences from the East, classical Rome and the Baroque and you have a real treat for all the senses. And this summer photographer Riccardo De Cal presents his exhibition, Into the Labyrinth, taken from his new book Dream of Venice Architecture at Venice’s famous Fondazione Querini Stampalia. Here’s what to expect.
The exhibition – Into the Labyrinth, Venetian architecture
De Cal graduated in architecture at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia before going on to develop a career as an award winning documentary maker and photographer. His work focuses on space and time and this summer’s exhibition certainly captures both with his evocative shots in and around the city.
Inspired by novelist Jorge Luis Borge’s statement that the maze “is a building built to confuse people,” De Cal spent 3 months in late 2015 exploring La Serenissima before selecting views that evoke the labyrinthine structure of the city.
|He describes the experience as being “like listening to a melody coming from the calli, and trying to find its origin within the labyrinth. I felt like a dowser in search of water. Photographing Venice was not an intellectual approach, but rather instinctive and subliminal instead.”|
From the multiple columns of St Mark’s Square, to the long low island of Giudecca, to the dark sottopassaggi underpassages through the heart of Venice De Cal captures the magic, mystery and magnificence with ease. The autumnal mists cloaking the city add an air of secrecy, bringing to mind the masked balls of Venetian carnival as everyone hides behind costume and disguise.
And as you walk amongst the 20 or so photos of the exhibition, voices quote from a number of contributing architects who have built in Venice adding another dimension to the experience. Quoting from the likes of Japanese architect Tadao Ando, American Louise Braverman whose own work can be seen at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale and Italian designer Enrico Baleri, the audio brings the architecture to life.
The venue – Fondazione Querini Stampalia
The Fondazione Querini Stampalia is one of Venice’s most prestigious and best preserved “house-museums”, right in the heart of the city between St Mark’s and the Rialto Bridge. Originally owned by the noble Venetian Querini Stampalia family, the house has been open to visitors since 1869 presented as an historic family home depicting daily life.
The noble floor recreates the sumptuous living quarters, filled with precious furniture, paintings, porcelains and luxurious frescoes. And the foundation also includes an extensive archive, a library and an art gallery including paintings by Bellini, Tiepolo and Pietro Longhi.
Located just south of the Church of Santa Maria Formosa, in the district of Castello, the Querini Stampalia is the perfect Venetian setting for Riccardo De Cal’s reflective review of Venice’s stunning architecture.
The book – Dream of Venice Architecture
Riccardo De Cal’s book, Dream of Venice Architecture, published by Bella Figura Publications is dedicated to Venice as a living city. And just like the earlier book Dream of Venice, includes stunning photographs conjuring up the most familiar and the most secret views of this beloved city accompanied by quotes from Venetophile contributors.
Do you dream of Venice?
Personally I’ve been dreaming of Venice since I was a youngster and have been lucky enough to experience the joys of actually living in the city. If you ever have the chance, I can definitely recommend it! And I’m thrilled that this new exhibition and book are bringing together some of the most beautiful, atmospheric and evocative photos of our beloved city. So if you’re visiting this summer, make sure to check out Into the Labyrinth at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia. Or give yourself a boost with the book if you can’t make the trip and bring the magic of Venice to you at home. In the meantime, leave me a comment with your memories of Venice’s architecture – what’s your favourite building and why? Ci vediamo lì, See you there!
Exhibition website (in Italian) here
Dates : Friday June 17th – Sunday August 21st, 2016
Where : Fondazione Querini Stampalia, House number 5252, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Castello district, 30122 Venice
All photos © Riccardo De Cal 2016
The post Dream of Venice Architecture : a new book & exhibition by Riccardo de Cal first appeared on DreamDiscoverItalia.