What do you imagine when you hear the phrase “Peter Pan“? The first things that come to my mind are freedom, childhood, play, no responsibilities, and a lot of fun. But there’s so much more to Peter Pan than just these imaginary musings.
The most fascinating thing about art is that its interpretation is so individual to each viewer. Curated by Art Project Venice, Fondation Valmont shows its new exhibition, Peter Pan. La nécessité du rêve, at Palazzo Bonvicini in the heart of Venice, Italy (which is being said, has many parallels to Neverland). Peter Pan is Fondation Valmont’s fourth show within a series of re-interpretations of classic fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, followed by a declaration of devotion with Venetian Love and Alice in Doomedland. Peter Pan (coinciding with Biennale in Venice) shows four different interpretations and re-imaginations of Peter Pan by five artists.
A significant player firmly anchored in Venice’s cultural life, Fondation Valmont intends to present the 30 artists and the 200 works making up its permanent collection while inviting associated artists to participate in ambitious reflections launched by Didier Guillon. Didier Guillon is not only the founder of the Fondation Valmont but also an artist and the owner of the family-run Valmont Cosmetics Group.
“Luxury goes hand in hand with art in all the Valmont Group. To make an everyday product extraordinary for a limited edition or to sublimate a new launch through a work of art, every creation is a dialogue between art and cosmetics – with engaged visuals, exceptional limited editions, and more,” says Guillon.
“Does the eternal youth that Peter Pan represents coincide with the vision of Valmont’s anti-aging cosmetic line?” I ask Guillon Didier. “Of course,” he replies. “It is a great parallel to our work at Valmont Group and to the dreams of our clients.“ He adds, ”Everyone needs an escape hatch from everyday life, somewhere they can go in their mind.“
Luca Berta, the exhibition’s curator, chimes in and says, “Peter Pan embodies this fantasy of escape and freedom better than anyone else. But Peter is half-human, half-bird. As adults and real people, we cannot take to the air and fly over a freedom that, once gained, is forever ours. We do not have all the time in the world. The problem is that sometimes we just forget how children see the world.”
“Peter Pan, then, is not a paradigm of an artist still in touch with the child’s imagination, as many like to see it. Rather, it is an allegory of a Dionysiac place, governed by the ambiguity of a constantly changing reversal of values and the desire for power of a childishly unconquerable ego, free from any pretense of responsibility. And, this is just the place that every artist, if artist they wish to be, must first visit,” he explains.
During a workshop on the island of Hydra, the curators asked the artists to reinterpret Peter Pan on their own terms. Each artist read the book on their own, then came up with ideas that represent their own perception of the complex (yet so simple) figure of Peter Pan, of freedom, of dreams.
Peter Pan. La nécessité du rêve at Fondation Valmont, will run through 26.02.2023.