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Ydessa Hendeles: Grand Hotel

Collateral Event of the 60th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

Spazio Berlendis, Venice
April 20–November 24, 2024

The Art Museum at the University of Toronto is proud to present Ydessa Hendeles: Grand Hotel as an official Collateral Event of the 60th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Wayne Baerwaldt, working in collaboration with Project Producer Barbara Edwards, the site-responsive exhibition is mounted in the prestigious Spazio Berlendis adjacent to the Fondamente Nove in the district of Cannaregio. In Grand Hotel, Ydessa Hendeles explores the critical themes of cultural identity, displacement, intergenerational trauma and loss linking the past to the present.

Informed by the artist’s family history of persecution and migration, Grand Hotel offers a visceral experience that addresses perceptions of cultural identity and otherness. In a setting that calls to mind The Merchant of Venice and the historical Jewish Ghetto, Grand Hotel presents a timely questioning of the psychosocial dynamics that construct our world.

A Canadian and Polish citizen born in Marburg, Germany, just after World War II, Ydessa Hendeles is the only child of Auschwitz survivors whose Jewish community in Zawiercie, Poland, was erased in the Holocaust. In 1951, the young family moved to rebuild their lives in Toronto, where Hendeles grew up and first made her mark in the contemporary art world. With a distinguished career as gallerist, collector and curator, she has mounted more than 100 exhibitions since 1980 and in the process fashioned a distinctive space in the artworld. A pioneering exponent of curating as an artistic practice, her groundbreaking work has inspired a new generation of curators.

Hendeles has since further developed her “curatorial compositions” into an innovative art practice. This is elaborated on in the new publication, The Milliner’s Daughter: The Art Practice of Ydessa Hendeles with an extensive analysis by Ernst van Alphen and Mieke Bal, an essay by Emily Cadger, an interview of Gaëtane Verna by Markus Müller and a foreword by Gaëtane Verna published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Cologne.

Grand Hotel will be accompanied by Hendeles’s detailed Notes on each component of the exhibition, which are essential to the artist’s practice.

Exhibition Venue
Spazio Berlendis
Calle Berlendis, 6301
30121 Venice

Wednesday through Sunday, 12pm–7pm


Press Release
Media Coverage

Page Image: Ydessa Hendeles, Grand Hotel (detail), 2022. Family-album photograph, “Sommer 1946,” gelatin silver print, with hand-written annotation in ink on recto, original print: 5.9 x 8.9 cm. © Ydessa Hendeles, courtesy of the artist.

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