The Language of Flowers
Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana director Martin Bethenod curated the show, which highlighted works based on floral iconography created by four artists between 1967 and 2012. Their motifs were not only decorative but also reflexive, delicate yet endowed with deep symbolic ambiguity. Valérie Belin's half-woman, half-flower photo portraits responded to the funeral bouquet of Marlene Dumas' mother, questioning the issue of memory and mourning linked to this intimate object. Latifa Echakhch's jasmine sculpture evoked both the floral necklaces sold in Middle Eastern streets and the Arab Spring, turning the flower into a political metaphor. Alongside these contemporary works from between 2007 and 2012, Irving Penn's older photo diptychs of the same floral motif in black and white and colour evoked classicism and aesthetic perfection in capturing the motif.
In addition to celebrating the Gucci Museo's ties to the Pinault Collection, "The Language of Flowers" featured works by three women artists seldom, if ever, shown in Italy.