23 Jun 2004


Tepidarium of Giardino dell'Orticultura, 23 June 2004

Wednesday 23 June 2004 at the Tepidarium of Giardino dell’Orticultura, Florence
Vanessa Beecroft presents VB 53 
from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. (by invitation)

VB 53 (2004)
VB 53 is a performance that presents 21 models planted in soil within the Tepidarium of the Giardino dell’Orticoltura of Florence that was designed by Giacomo Roster at the end of the nineteenth century.

Vanessa Beecroft
Vanessa Beecroft was born in Genoa in 1969. She attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan and after completing her studies she moved to New York where she now lives and works. 
She was thrust into the international limelight by her work in the “Aperto” section of the Biennale di Venezia in 1995. Vanessa Beecroft works on female obsessions: body, beauty and identity. In her first exhibition (Milan 1993) the artist presented her food diary Despair in which she catalogued the foods she had eaten over the past eight years and grouped them by color. 
Through her perfect, glossy performances (which for the artist are conceptually closer to painting than the act of performing) titled with her initials and progressively numbered, she elaborates on all the cultural and image stereotypes that have surrounded female identity in recent years. VB presents professional models, family members and friends with the help of stylists, make-up artists and hairdressers.
“In general I try to minimize their clothing to emphasize the anatomy. Sometimes accessories are references that help link the group with the setting in which the performance takes place. Usually, they are slightly ironic. I display the elements that coexist with contradictions (their beauty, their references to the past, their immediate existence, their vulgarity, their purity, their compactness as a group, their isolation within the group)…”

Her major exhibits include: Biennale di San Paolo (2002); Palazzo Ducale Genoa, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Kunsthalle Wien (2001); Whitney Biennial New York (2000); MCA Chicago, MCA Sidney, Wacoal Art Center Tokyo (1999); Guggenheim Museum New York, Fondation Cartier Paris, Moderna Museet Stockholm (1998); Biennale di Venezia, Site Santa Fe Biennial (1997); Ludwig Museum Köln, Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven (1996).
In October 2003 Castello di Rivoli presented a retrospective exhibition of her works. The book, Vanessa Beecroft. Performances 1993-2003, was also published at that time (Skira publishers).
A retrospective exhibition of her works will open at the Kunsthalle in Bielefeld on 9 May (and will remain open through 22 August).

VB 53 (2004)
21 women are planted on soil inside the Tepidarium glasshouse in Florence. Some will be pale and diaphanous, some dark haired, some black or mulattos. They will be nude. Some will have hair down to their hips and knees, like Mary Magdelene in old paintings, some will have almost no hair at all, like the new shoots of a plant. They will wear ballet-type lace-up shoes, very delicate to contrast with the roughness of the soil. The soil is a reference to land art, it is very dark and moist, like the rich soil in cultivated fields. The woman will try to stand as long as possible, eventually they will fall, getting dirty in the soil. This performance contrasts the purity of the women’s bodies, their bareness, with the darkness and texture of the soil. Some will look like lilies, and some like potatoes. Some potato plants and lilies may be planted in the dirt.

Makeup provided by M.A.C

_Special thanks to Franca Sozzani
_With a grant from
  Regione Toscana_Assessorato alla Cultura
_Supported by:
  Comune di Firenze_Assessorato alla Cultura
_Il Sole 24 ore
_ Sorgente Tesorino spa

VB 53
Wednesday 23 June 2004
from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. 
Tepidarium_Giardino dell’Orticultura 
via V. Emanuele 4, Florence