CELEBRATION IN VENICE

Photo by Henrique Ferreira.

SONDRA PERRY AT THE 59th VENICE BIENNALE

As the 59th Venice Biennale, the Olympics of the art world, opens, Dream Commission winner Sondra Perry’s work is selected for ‘The Milk of Dreams’ exhibition — a place where dreams really can become reality.

Film by Luke Walker

The art world flocked to the canals of Venice for the pre-opening of the world’s most prominent international art event, the 59th Venice Biennale, in April 2022. Crowds lined up to witness 213 artists from 58 countries come together in two venues, the historic Giardini and the pre-industrial dockyard, the Arsenale.

Exterior of the Arsenale, Venice Biennale Vernissage Week April 2022, film still by Luke Walker, Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, photo by Francesco Galli

For the overall group show, ‘The Milk of Dreams’, held within the Arsenale, Italian-born New York-based curator Cecilia Alemani of the Highline included the work of Muse’s Dream Commission winner, Sondra Perry. This was a dream-like moment for the artist — the commission joined the ultimate international  stage for contemporary work, and will be seen by the hundreds of thousands who visit the Biennale. The group exhibition takes its name from Leonora Carrington’s fairytale children’s story, which depicts a world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination. It is an incredible serendipity that the theme of the Biennale chosen by the curator has such synergies with Sondra’s work, suspended from the ceiling at the heart of the exhibition.

Sondra Perry, Lineage for a Phantom Zone, 2020-2022 at the Venice Biennale, installation view, photos by Luke Walker.

Constructing a ‘dreamscape’ which blurs the lines between memory, history and the subconscious, Sondra Perry’s work conjures a dream that she wishes she could have had about her grandmother. A velvet couch wrapped in transparent plastic, just like the one her grandmother had when Sondra was growing up, frames a screen — and viewers step inside her world of dreams.

Sondra Perry, Lineage for a Phantom Zone, 2020-2022 at the Venice Biennale, installation view, photos by Luke Walker.

‘A Dream Revealed’, Dinner Celebrating the Dream Commission during the Venice Biennale at the Aman Hotel, 20 April 2022 photos by Mirco Toffolo and the Aman.

To celebrate the Dream Commission at the Venice Biennale, Muse hosted an intimate dinner at the 16th century Grand Canal palace: Aman Venice. Set amongst the grandeur of the former Palazzo Papadopoli, guests included Rolls-Royce owners, Sondra Perry collectors and important artworld directors, including Directors of the Design Museum, Tate, Frieze, Fondation Beyeler, Serpentine, Thaddaeus Ropac, Victoria Miro and others.  

Speeches from Jessica Persson-Conway of Muse and Bettina Korek, CEO of Serpentine, remarked on the monumental honour of Sondra Perry’s inclusion in the historic Biennale, the power of seeing a world through the imagination, and the transportive effect of dreams.

For Sondra Perry, memories and imagination are always created, brought to life intentionally through cooperation and solidarity. As the art world came together on the shores of Venice to celebrate the Dream Commission, Sondra Perry’s dreams were revealed.

Visit Sondra Perry’s Dream Commission artwork at the Venice Biennale until 27 November, and then at Serpentine, London in early 2023.


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