As Plessi himself stated: “Water has always been the leitmotif of my life and of my artistic and cultural journey”. And water is, indeed, the dominant theme of two distinct exhibitions, part of PLESSI IN VENICE, both curated by Marco Tonelli.
The first is the exhibition PLESSI. LIQUID LIFE. The flow of memory. 1000 projects, organised by the Veneto Museum Hub (Polo Museale del Veneto) in partnership with the Alberto Peruzzo Foundation – under the patronage of EXPO 2015 and the Italy Pavilion at EXPO 2015 – and presented between May and November 2015 at the Giorgio Franchetti Gallery at the Ca’ d’Oro, a highly evocative palazzo with a wealth of history that overlooks the Grand Canal in Venice.
At the Ca’ d’Oro, Plessi designed a video-installation in which screens, inserted within tables, show images of an “electronic flow” of water, serving as an idealised representation of his flow of thought and of his entire creative life. The works succeeded in triggering powerful pictorial visions. The artist stated: “I think that video forms a perfect pair with water: water is an ever-changing element, ancient, ancestral, primordial, while video is an element of the contemporary world: both are fluid, unstable. They both give off a blue glow”. Plessi’s tables serve, then, not only as sculptures but also as containers of a thousand drawings that constitute the conceptual and visionary nucleus of his works.
Plessi makes interaction with the past of both art and architecture – which are compared and contrasted in his contemporary projects and digital installations – one of the main threads of his output. Ca’ d’Oro is presented as the ideal scenario for a creative challenge faced by an artist whose works seem to cause a short circuit in the art of the past, and to become a form of added value, a way of seeing the past through different eyes, converting present and past into the current moment without any separation.
The other event, organised by the Alberto Peruzzo Foundation, under the patronage of the Regional Council of the Veneto and of VENICE TO EXPO 2015, staged over the same dates at the Tesa 94 at the Arsenal, was a single, large installation entitled PLESSI. LIQUID LIGHT, which for the first time after 40 years featured no trace of monitors or plasma screens, but simply a pale, mysterious bluish light (reminiscent of the light given off by television sets) that emerged from the keels of 14 overturned boats –llaüts to be precise, the traditional vessels used in the Balearics for trawling – against the aural backdrop of the waves. Following the intervention of the European Union, which incentivised their withdrawal, many llaüts were abandoned by the fishermen. After in-depth research and salvaging operations carried out in Mallorca, Fabrizio Plessi wanted to give these boats a new lease of life by turning them into both the content and the containers of this installation, which pays tribute to the Mediterranean.
The two exhibitions formed part of a major project, entitled PLESSI IN VENICE, entirely dedicated to the natural element of water as interpreted by Fabrizio Plessi. The PLESSI IN VENICE project was accompanied by two catalogues published by Peruzzo Editoriale: one on the exhibition at the Ca’ d’Oro and the other on the installation at the Arsenal.