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Huma Bhabha in
Julie Mehretu. Ensemble

17 March 2024—6 January 2025
Group Exhibition at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy

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Presented at Palazzo Grassi from 17 March 2024 to 6 January 2025, “Ensemble” is the largest exhibition of Julie Mehretu's work to date in Europe. Curated by Caroline Bourgeois, Chief Curator of the Pinault Collection, with Julie Mehretu, the exhibition brings together a selection of more than fifty works, between painting and printmaking, that the artist produced over the timespan of 25 years, including several of the artist’s recent paintings from 2021-2024. Presented over two floors of Palazzo Grassi, the exhibition unites 17 works from the Pinault Collection, as well as loans from international museums and private collections.

The exhibition is punctuated by the presence of the works by some of her closest artist friends, with whom she has developed a powerful affinity over the years and with whom she has exchanged and collaborated. Organised following a principle of visual echoes, this exhibition is conceived as a free, non-chronological journey through Julie Mehretu’s work. It allows us to explore her artistic practice, to understand both how it came into being and how it is constantly renewed.

The palimpsest of her work, forming multiple surfaces images, echoes with the collective dimension, the idea of working together, which we have sought to bring out here. In this exhibition, pieces by Mehretu’s friends Nairy Baghramian, Huma Bhabha, Tacita Dean, David Hammons, Robin Coste Lewis, Paul Pfeiffer and Jessica Rankin enter into a rich dialogue with her own art. Beyond their formal differences, common concerns and shared driving forces become apparent, challenging the idea that the artist is self-sufficient and showing that, on the contrary, she is connected to others, to their thoughts and sensibilities. Their works inspire her and resonate with her own, with her way of looking at the world—all the more since each of these artists, like Julie Mehretu herself, experienced displacements that deeply shaped who they became, by force or by choice, leaving or fleeing Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan. Their participation in the exhibition is a testament to Julie Mehretu’s acute attention to these gradually woven relationships, to their seminal role and creative power.