Julie Mehretu Presents ‘Ensemble’: Her Largest European Exhibition Yet

julie mehretu largest european exhibition ensemble palazzo grassi venice designboom 04

Venice welcomes a dazzling display of art as Julie Mehretu’s largest European exhibition, “Ensemble,” graces the halls of Palazzo Grassi. From March 17th, 2024, to January 6th, 2025, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Mehretu’s dynamic creations, curated by Caroline Bourgeois in collaboration with the artist herself.

The exhibition boasts over fifty pieces spanning a quarter of a century, showcasing Mehretu’s evolution as an artist. From her earliest works to her latest pieces crafted between 2021 and 2024, the exhibit offers a comprehensive insight into Mehretu’s artistic journey. Palazzo Grassi provides a fitting backdrop, where Venetian Classical architecture intertwines seamlessly with Mehretu’s vibrant style.

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Julie Mehretu​, Among the Multitude XIII, ​2021-2022​, private collection. installation view, ‘Julie Mehretu. Ensemble’, 2024, Palazzo Grassi

But “Ensemble” is more than just Mehretu’s solo showcase. Interspersed throughout the exhibition are works by her closest artist friends, including Nairy Baghramian, Huma Bhabha, Tacita Dean, and others. Through these collaborative pieces, viewers witness a rich dialogue between Mehretu’s art and the works of her peers, revealing shared themes and driving forces that transcend formal disparities.

Caroline Bourgeois, Chief Curator of the Pinault Collection, orchestrates this visual symphony, emphasizing the interconnectedness of artists and their narratives. Mehretu’s own experiences of displacement from Ethiopia resonate deeply with her peers’ journeys, underscoring the profound impact of interwoven relationships on artistic expression.

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Screenshot 20240323 170020 Chrome jpgJulie Mehretu​, TRANSpaintings (hand), 2023, courtesy of the artist and White Cube. installation view, ‘Julie Mehretu. Ensemble’, 2024, Palazzo Grassi, Pinault Collection

Accompanying the exhibition is a comprehensive catalogue, offering insights from prominent voices in the art world, including Mehretu herself. Additionally, a series of conferences and cultural events open to the public enrich the experience, shedding light on the themes explored within the exhibition.

“Ensemble” not only celebrates Mehretu’s remarkable oeuvre but also underscores the collective ethos that permeates the artistic community. As Mehretu’s art weaves together disparate narratives and perspectives, it invites viewers to contemplate the power of collaboration and the enduring connections that shape creative expression.

Beyond Mehretu’s exhibition, Palazzo Grassi also hosts “Liminal,” an intriguing exhibition by Pierre Huyghe, inviting audiences to explore new realities and question the boundaries between the human and the non-human.

Venice, once again, proves to be a cultural epicenter, where art flourishes, and boundaries blur in the pursuit of creative expression and collective understanding.

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