Francesco Vezzoli Creates Shrine to Marlene Dietrich in Stunning Monaco Villa
Marlene is rendered in the style of Bacon, Picasso, and Modigliani.
Some things just go well together, even if they’re not quite real. It doesn’t seem far fetched to imagine, for example, the glamorous Marlene Dietrich residing in a Belle Epoque villa in Monaco.
Artist Francesco Vezzoli has imagine just that, and conjured up a large-scale tribute to the film diva at Villa Sauber, a stunning mansion which is part of the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.
Titled “Villa Marlene,” the exhibition, which opened on April 29, turns the space into a veritable shrine to the revered German actress, filled with art works featuring Dietrich’s distinct image as depicted by the most famous artists of her day: Visitors will see Dietrich as painted by Francis Bacon and Amedeo Modigliani, drawn by Pablo Picasso, and sculpted by Marc Quinn.
However, as the wall text claims, “Everything that you will see in this exhibition is just pure fiction.” The thought-up depictions of La Dietrich adorning the beautiful rooms of the Villa Sauber, which she has never inhabited, emulate, with amazing accuracy, the respective styles of the artists who have allegedly “created” them.
Villa Sauber is also decorated with posters, memorabilia, film footage, and other ephemera surrounding the myth of Dietrich and her status as a screen icon, all re-created by Vezzoli.
Vezzoli’s fascination with Dietrich as a subject goes back more than fifteen years; “Villa Marlene” is thus made up of new works created especially for this exhibition and works made throughout Vezzoli’s career.
Vezzoli started his career creating incredibly detailed embroidered portraits of legendary divas culling from film, art history, mass media, and their commenting on their associated power. Incorporating elements from contemporary popular culture, his work seeks to explore the “ambiguity of truth”, often featuring himself alongside his subjects. In the past, he has created work featuring Natalie Wood, Lady Gaga, as well as Vicente Minelli, Joan Crawford, Cary Grant, and Greta Garbo.
Vezzoli’s work explores the language of classical art, fashion advertising, big screen icons, and superstars. His past projects include a remake of the trailer of Gore Vidal’s Caligula (2005), and a Roman Polanski directed advertisement for a fake perfume named Greed. He has also created site-specific performances inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Luigi Pirandello, and Salvador Dalí featuring modern-day stars such as Catherine Deneuve, Cate Blanchett, and Lady Gaga.
However, the artist now prefers to work with dead divas, as he explained in a recent interview. “I no longer have the patience to work with flesh-and-blood divas,” he told Numéro magazine back in May. “I spent so much time getting turned down and trying to convince them […] And I’m at a point in my career where I prefer to work with people who are available.”
Villa Marlene is on view at Villa Sauber, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco until September 11, 2016.
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