The birth of abstract art is attributed to Vasyli Kandinsky who painted the first non-figurative picture in 1910 (actually, he had been preceded by German painter Hoelzel in 1908). The painting entitled “First abstract watercolor” is in Paris at the Musée National d’Art Moderne. The story is curious: entering his studio one morning, Kandinsky noticed that he had placed the painting he had been working on the day before upside down and surprisingly realized that the result was gorgeous and worked out wonderfully without adding human images or landscapes.

It would not have been a unique example. In a museum in Dusseldorf, in Germany, for example, only now they have realized that an abstract masterwork by Piet Mondrian had been displayed upside down for 77 years and in other exhibitions around the world. The paintings are in the right position now, but one could imagine them upside down to see the effect.

The exhibition is organized by MUVE, Foundation Civic Museums and the Municipality of Venice. Point, line, surface is the title of a famous book written in 1926 by Vasyli Kandinsky in which he describes his theories on non-figurative painting joined with a correspondence established in artworks, colours, forms, and sounds.

The artworks on display come from packed collections of Ca’ Pesaro, the prestigious International Gallery of Modern Art of the City of Venice, purchased by the Municipalities from the Biennials or donated by awarded artists, patrons, and collectors.

In featuring the great interpreters of the international Twentieth century, in addition to Kandinsky will be exhibited masterworks by Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Enrico Prampolini, Jean Arp, Victor Brauner, Joan Mirò, Antoni Tàpies, Yves Tanguy, Luigi Veronesi, Ben Nicholson, Karel Appel, Roberto Matta, Giuseppe Santomaso, Mario Deluigi, Tancredi, Mark Tobey, Emilio Vedova, Mirko Basaldella, Eduardo Chillida. Bruno De Toffoli, Julia Mangold, Luciano Minguzzi, Richard Nonas.

With more than 40 paintings, paper works, and sculptures, the exhibit pieces together the fascinating journey of abstract art from its birth and other Avant-guards to the contemporary years, from Futurism to Surrealism, from Informal art to minimalism. A section is devoted to the international experiences of abstract expressionism and in Italy to the New Front of Arts and sign abstractionism. The event aims at relaunching Candiani which, in past years, was a venue for prestigious exhibitions.

Kandinsky and the Avant-guards, as Ca’ Pesaro Director Elisabetta Barisoni puts it, is a trailblazer exhibition for two reasons. Primarily, it shows the choice by the MUVE Foundation of starting up a new phase in art exhibitions at the Candiani Cultural Centre in Mestre on the Venetian mainland. Secondly, it is witnessing the new network of cooperations that the Foundation of Civic Museums of Venice has created within a wider territory. In a more contained and smaller size, the exhibit had been held at the Municipal Contemporary Art Gallery in Monfalcone with success.

Far more successful it will be in Mestre, where it will be visible until 21 February 2023.

“We want to increasingly reinforce the cultural offer to the city and bring to the mainland those initiatives that are born out of our civic cultural heritage. The exhibition on Kandinsky is a confirmation of that”, was the comment of Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, a longtime supporter of the diffusion of art and culture on the mainland. Let us not forget that Mestre is Venice.