From 24 March to 21 October 2018
Venice, Palazzo Fortuny
In 1949, Zoran Mušicˇ (Bocavizza, 1909 – Venice, 2005) was commissioned by sisters Charlotte and Nelly Dornacher to decorate the basement of theirvilla in Zollikon near Zurich. The result was to be an example of a “total work of art”: in addition to creating paintings on plaster and on jute and linen canvas, the artist also designed the decorative patterns embroidered on the curtains and tablecloth that adorned the room.
Several pieces of furniture, though not designed by him, were chosen on his agreement and completed the space created for holding social gatherings. Most of the paintings were applied directly onto the wall plaster, five further compositions on linen cloth were stretched on frames attached to the walls, while decorated jute cloth was used for the entrance door, the same fabric as the curtains and a tablecloth embroidered to a design by the artist, who chose the colours and the various embroidery stitches. After years of neglect and abandonment, the room has been restored, thanks to the intervention of Paolo Cadorin, Mušicˇ ’s brother-in-law and director of the restoration department of Basel Kunstmuseum. He oversaw the removal of the plaster, its transfer on aluminium honeycomb panels, and the restoration of the canvases and furniture.
This complex task, completed by Cadorin’s students, finally returns “Zoran’s room” to thepublic through its recreation at Palazzo Fortuny as the central element of an exhibition and tribute to its creator. The many design motifs of an almost dizzying richness that Mušicˇ created for this room constitute a sort of iconographic compendium of artistic production in those years: from the Dalmatian motifs of women on horseback o carrying parasols, to donkeys and ponies in the rocky landscape or dancing in the void; from the ferries filled with horses or cattle, to the decorative borders of lozenges, stripes, spirals, roundels and tiles; and from the framed, hieratic faces recalling the work of Campigli, to an “iconic” portrait of Ida looking in the mirror and a self-portrait of Mušicˇ himself. In addition, there are the views of Venice: the domes and façade of the Basilica, the Palazzo Ducale, balustrades, arches, the piazza porticoes, the Basin of San Marco, San Giorgio, the Doganaand the fishing boats.
An extensive discerning selection of works created between 1947 and 1953, gathered from private collections and from the artist’s archive, completes the exhibition itinerary.