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Fundazione Prada is open once again for the new Peter Fischli exhibition, Stop Painting, from now until the 21st of November. Housed within Venice’s palazzo of Ca’ Corner della Regina, the exhibition negotiates five key splits in the historic canon of painting and whether new social and digital developments will contribute to crises in painting, or its renewal.

Coined as “a kaleidoscope of repudiated gestures” by the artist-curator himself, the new exhibition encompasses over 110 artworks from a pool of over 80 artists. Divided into 10 sections based upon multiple alternate narratives, audiences experience Stop Painting via an individual approach as opposed to a chronological flow. This is fitting as the exhibition appears to be an exercise in understanding the current and future moments with regards to painting as a medium. Though its topic is a mode of representation, the exhibition is far more exploratory than representational itself.

To conduct said exploration, Fischli examines five moments of crisis. The first is the redundancy of painting by photography, presupposing its purpose was mimesis. The following is Duchampian in lineage as the readymade and the collage forced painting into an act of extension through objects. Next came the Barthian blow of the death of the author. Then, the fourth crisis arrived in the late sixties when questions of commodity value were probed towards painting, negating symbolic significance. Fischli’s fifth and final crisis was due to more contemporary criticism in the era of advanced or late capitalism, as furthered by theorists like Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello who Fischeli cites. These turmoil-inducing instances inform Stop Painting.

In navigating these moments of social and technological change, Stop Painting encourages a reflection on the current moment also. We are wading through an ever digitised era where it appears all needs and even social requirements can be satisfied in the online realm. The question remains: will these changes in how we socialise through progressive technologies help or hinder a renaissance in painting? You’ll have to visit Fischli’s exhibition to find out.

Lucy McLaughlin
Tom Haller

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