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Anish Kapoor (UK, 1954), White Dark VIII, 2000. Fiberglass and wood, 160 x 160 x 66 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Axel Vervoordt.

VENICE.- To coincide with the 2017 Venice Art Biennale, Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti will present Intuition at the Palazzo Fortuny. This exhibition will explore how intuition has, in some form, shaped art across geographies, cultures and generations. It will bring together historic, modern and contemporary works related to the concept of intuition, dreams, telepathy, paranormal fantasy, meditation, creative power, hypnosis and inspiration. 

Organised by the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation and the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Intuition will be the sixth, and final, in a highly acclaimed series of exhibitions at the Palazzo Fortuny, which include Artempo (2007), In-finitum (2009), TRA (2011), Tàpies. Lo Sguardo dell’artista (2013) and most recently, Proportio (2015). 

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Cy Twombly (1928-2011), Untitled, 2008. Oil on paper, relined on canvas, 76 x 56 cm. Collection Lambert, Avignon.

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning: a feeling that guides a person to act in a certain way without fully understanding why. 

Some of the earliest works on display in the exhibition will reveal the role of intuition in encouraging artists to connect the two worlds, first attempts by men to create an immediate link between the sky and the earth: from the erection of totems to shamanism and mystical ecstasy; and from religious iconography describing illuminations (Annunciation, Visitation, Pentecost…), to classical works capturing the divine revelation of dreams. 

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Gustave Courbet (France, 1819-1877), "La Vague", 1872-1873. Oil on canvas. Collection de Bueil & Ract-Madoux.

Modern works by Vassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Hilma af Klint and more will highlight the intuitive experience and feeling that drives the creative process, and led to the rise of abstract art. The importance of the spatial and temporal research undertaken by the Gutai, Cobra, Zero, Spazialismo and Fluxus groups will be illustrated with works by Kazuo Shiraga, Pierre Alechinsky, Günther Uecker, Lucio Fontana, Mario Deluigi and Joseph Beuys. 

The Surrealists interest in the unconscious will also be an important focus of the exhibition. Their fascination with dreams, automatic writing and drawing, collective creations and the state of alteration of the ego will be represented with the ‘dessins communiqués’ and ‘cadavres exquis’ of André Breton, André Masson, Paul Eluard, Remedios Varo, Victor Brauner amongst others, along with experiments in camera-less photography by Raoul Ubac and Man Ray, and works on paper by Henry Michaux, Oscar Dominguez and Joan Miró.  

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Thierry de Cordier (Belgium, 1954), Grand Nada, 2007 - 2012. Oil and enamel on canvas, 320 x 227 cm. Private collection. Courtesy of the artist and Xavier Hufkens Gallery

The Surrealist’s legacy will be reflected in a number of works by contemporary artists such as Robert Morris, William Anastasi, Isa Genzken, Renato Leotta and Susan Morris who, since the 1960s, have revived, developed and modernised automatism, leading to new formal and technical results. Other contemporary works by artists including Marina Abramović, Chung Chang-Sup, Ann Veronica Janssens and Anish Kapoor, are inspired by striking subjective experiences or states of mind, and the artists’ concern and preoccupation with the viewer. 

During the opening days visitors will be invited to explore and experience the paranormal fantasy of artists through four performances related to dreams, telepathy, and hypnosis – of the mind and body – by young artists Marcos Lutyens, Yasmine Hugonnet, Angel Vergara and Matteo Nasini.  

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Video installation and by Gilles Delmas (France, 1966), "Damien Jalet, the Ferryman" 2017. Choreography, performance and texts by Damien Jalet. Voice: Marina AbramovichCourtesy Gilles Delmas and Damien Jalet.

ntuition aims to provoke questions about the origins of creation, and is intended to be viewed as a ‘work in progress’, with leading contemporary artists creating a dialogue with the historic works and the unique character of the Palazzo Fortuny. Kimsooja, Alberto Garutti, Kurt Ralske, Maurizio Donzelli, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Gilles Delmas and Nicola Martini will all create site-specific installations as part of the exhibition - a direct, and intuitive, response to the spaces within. 

Daniela Ferretti, Director of the Palazzo Fortuny, said: ‘It has been twelve years since I met Axel Vervoordt; it was a day in August and the beginning of our intense collaboration. Together, we started an exploration of the arts and, more generally, of the concepts of thought and reflection. It was intended as a continuous questioning of the universal themes that each historical period interprets through new prisms. We have dived into the same projects, often following different paths and approaches, but, in the end, always converging in a shared vision. To me, INTUITION is therefore the synthesis of a long journey, the end of a research cycle, which opens new perspectives.’  

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Bernardi Roig, An Illuminated Head for Blinky P., 2010. Courtesy Galerie KEWENIG, Berlin, Palma © Silvia León

Axel Vervoordt, Chairman of the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation, said ‘Together with Director Daniela Ferretti, we have made a series of remarkable exhibitions in Palazzo Fortuny exploring the transversal links between philosophy, science, music, history, creative heritage and art. Much like Artempo, Infinitum, Tra and Proportio, Intuition is another concept that has fascinated me all my life, and which we wanted to study more scientifically. Intuition is a sense that comes out of total freedom, being one with cosmic energy. It is the Beginning and the End. This is a poignant theme for our final exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny.’ 

At the start of December Axel Vervoordt Company will open Kanaal, a former C19th distillery and malting complex on the banks of the Albert Canal, just outside of Antwerp. This remarkable ‘island’ has been conceived and designed by Axel Vervoordt as a “City in the Country”, in collaboration with the Belgian architects Stéphane Beel, Coussée & Goris and Bogdan & Van Broeck, and the French landscape designer Michel Devisgne. It brings together residential, commercial and cultural spaces, and the natural world, within a shared community. At the heart of Kanaal will sit a complex of exhibition spaces, housing the permanent collection of the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation and the Axel Vervoordt Gallery, as well as a revolving programme of temporary exhibitions.

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Tancredi Parmeggiani, No Title, 1955. Private Collection, Venice © Claudio Franzini, Venice.

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Nusch et Paul Eluard et André Breton, Cadavre exquis, 1931. Collection David et Marcel Fleiss, Galerie 1900-2000, Paris © Galerie 1900-2000.

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Willem de Kooning ( 1904 - 1997), Untitled, 1976. Mixed media on paper, 55,3 x 72,4 cm. Museu Colecao Berardo, Lisbon.

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William Anastasi, “Abandoned painting”, 2000, Enea Righi Collection © Antonio Maniscalco

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Jana Sterbak, Artist as Combustible, 1986, Fondazione Museion, Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bolzano, Collezione Enea Righi, © Antonio Maniscalco