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Kiki Smith
Kiki Smith, Io (seated), porcelain sculpture with jewel, 2005
Kiki Smith, Io (seated), porcelain sculpture with jewel, 2005


This work was offered by the artist in memory of the exhibition Homespun Tales. Storie di occupazione domestica, held in 2005 in conjunction with the 51st International Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.


The project was created for the Fondazione Querini Stampalia by Kiki Smith, who was inspired by the rich collection of women’s portraits in the Museum, the historical residence of the noble Venetian family. On that occasion, Kiki Smith produced twenty white porcelain sculptures, women animated by several positions recalling the ladies of the 17th century painted by Pietro Longhi as well as the “Sibille”(Sybils), exhibited in the Mythology Salon. They were one besides the other, on a long wooden table in the large central salon, on the third floor. They were simple and familiar creatures living together in a home dimension untouched by the passing of time: mothers and daughters, visionary women, time guardians, dreamers, enchanting players, caring women and lovers... Each one of them had her own history and they all narrated a story throughout the centuries, like a thread linking the past and the present, reality and dreams.     


The sculpture Io belongs to Kiki Smith’s exhibition in Venice, even though it was not present on that occasion, and it describes the myth of Io and Zeus narrated by Ovid in 'Metamorphoses' and many other ancient works. It is the portrait of one of the lovers of Zeus, who turns into a cloud to embrace and seduce her without being discovered by his wife Hera. In this contemporary interpretation, however, the cloud is in the hands of the girl, who seems to play with a bundle of threads to give them different forms and interpretations.


Website credits

Studio Camuffo

Alvise Rabitti
Giovanni Rosa