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Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism

curated by Chiara Bertola

Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice

May 6 – September 20, 2015    


Four years ago Jimmie Durham was invited by the Fondazione Querini Stampalia and began talking to people in and around Venice who work as boat builders, glass blowers, goldbeaters, woodcarvers, as well as people who work in restaurants and various administrative positions. He talked to all different kinds of workers and gathered their stories. He found that many came from countries such as Senegal, Tunisia and Bangladesh, and that they prefer to remain an invisible element of the local economy.


During the 56th Venice Biennale, Durham is presenting Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia. The installation at the Spazio Carlo Scarpa and in the Museum features new objects formed from unexpected combinations: broken glass collected over the years alongside brightly colored paint, three-hundred year old venetian bricks posed against elements from the tourist industry and everyday commerce of Venice.


This work is not intended as a monument, but rather as a vehicle for dialogue that addresses the complex melding of these ideas: tourism, the social imaginary of Venice, labor, and the man-made object.


An artist book conceived as integral part of a single project accompanies the exhibition. In this book, Durham has compiled writings and images – of objects he has assembled, as well as images of people and scenes of Venice – as well his analysis of the underlying connections between the tourism industries, the stories of local workers and Venice’s history.


For Durham, “Venice is the embodiment of this confluence: a place where object becomes most evident as the cornerstone of cultural and intellectual life, and a place where this seemingly static symbol of culture and intellectuality is constantly being modeled and refined through handling and everyday labor.”


Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism is a project curated by Chiara Bertola born from the collaboration between Fondazione Querini Stampalia and kurimanzutto, Mexico City with the support of FURLA Foundation, Bologna; Dena Foundation, Paris; ZERYNTHIA Associazione per l’Arte Contemporanea, Rome.


Images of the exhibition

Carnivalesque Shark in Venice, 2015
Jimmie Durham
Carnivalesque Shark in Venice, 2015
Press Release
Works in exhibition

click here


Website credits

Studio Camuffo

Alvise Rabitti
Giovanni Rosa