Two plaster casts

140 x 40 x 40 cm (55 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 in.) (each) Overall dimensions: 223 x 110 x 90 cm (87 13/16 x 43 5/16 x 35 7/16 in.)

Two Venus in plaster are placed in front of each other with a slight lateral discrepancy. They are perfectly identical. Which one is the original and which one the copy? The artist said: “When I place two identical copies of the same ancient statue one in front of the other, I do not aim to rediscover and recreate that statue, nor do I want to be delighted by the situation. My only aim is to focus on the distance, on the empty space between them. That is the true body of the work of art [...], a decorative game more real than the illusion of truth.”

Giulio Paolini starts working on the notions of copy and duplicate in the 1970s. The principle used in Mimesi is reproduced in several other artworks, most of them inspired by ancient statuary. The artist thus explores the limits of art and the artwork by interrogating the notion of authenticity.

Giulio Paolini's Mimesi was first shown in 2006 at the Where Are We Going? exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, in Venice.