Palazzo Fortuny San Marco, Venice, Italy
09 May 2015 - 22 Nov 2015


Ellsworth Kelly, Red, Yellow, Blue, 1963. © Ellsworth Kelly.

Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation and Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia present PROPORTIO. The exhibition examines the role that proportion plays in our lives and the complex universe in which we live. By examining wide-ranging and diverse representations found in art, nature, physics, economics, history, science, music, medicine, and many other subjects, the study of proportion uncovers the natural patterns that are used to create everything in the material world.

Proportion is not only a question of numbers. Nor is it a simple comparison of measurements and dimensions in relation to a whole. According to Plato, the definition of proportion is the transition from duality to unity. It’s the investigation of how elements and patterns are connected and interconnected across disciplines. It’s the investigation of how we, as humans, perceive those patterns through our senses, as well as through our intuition. It’s also an exploration of how universal proportions guide our understanding of creation and the dynamic dance between order and chaos.

Throughout the course of known human history, the knowledge of proportions and sacred geometry in particular, has been applied across many civilizations for thousands of years. The sophisticated knowledge of sacred geometry, especially the golden ratio, was considered highly advanced and closely related to secretive spiritual wisdom and religious traditions. As a result, its use was controlled, because it was thought that it’s misuse might have undesirable consequences. In the Western world, the knowledge of sacred geometry was so secret that it was intentionally guarded for hundreds of years and may have been purposefully forgotten or discarded.

What was known? How was this knowledge used in the past? How can it help us to understand the world around us today? As an exhibition, the aim of PROPORTIO is to re-start a contemporary dialogue surrounding the lost knowledge of proportions and sacred geometry.

PROPORTIO features specially commissioned artworks by contemporary artists, 20th century masterpieces, Old Master paintings, archaeological artefacts, as well as architectural models and a large library of historical books on proportions.  All these works provide a lens to help us see what proportion can teach us about the essential design of the present and how we can use this knowledge to create a blueprint for the future. This exhibition is an opportunity to explore universal proportions and an invitation to reflect upon the interconnectedness of our universe.

Curators: Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti

LIST OF PARTICIPATING ARTIST: Marina Abramovic, Carla Accardi, Sandro Botticelli, Lucia Bru, Markus Brunetti, Pierpaolo Calzolari, Francesco Candeloro, Antonio Canova, Dadamaino, Hanne Darboven, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Raoul De Keyser, Philippe Favier, Giorgia Fiorio, Alberto Giacometti, Ando Gilardi, Erwin Heerich, Michael Heizer, Francesco Jodice, Ilya et Emilia Kabakov, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Richard Meier, Mario Merz, Amedeo Modigliani, Rei Naito, Yuko Nasaka, Robert Ryman, Lucio Saffaro, Fred Sandback, Stéphane Sautour, Ettore Spalletti, Antoni Tàpies, Marco Tirelli, Gunther Uecker, Camiel Van Breedam, Koen Van den Broek, Dom Hans Van der Laan, Koen Vanmechelen, Hyong-Keun Yun, Gianfranco Zappettini and Raphaël Zarka and many others …

The Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation is a non-profit organisation founded in 2008 by Axel Vervoordt, Belgian eclectic collector, tastemaker and visionary dealer, and his wife May to preserve the heritage of 40 years of collecting and sharing art. Following the acclaimed groundbreaking exhibition Artempo at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 2007, the Foundation was formed to oversee subsequent important exhibitions, including Academia (Paris, 2008), In-finitum (Venice, 2009), and TRA (Venice, 2011). Besides lending works to institutions worldwide, the mission of the Foundation is to preserve the collection’s integrity for future generations, to publish art books, and to organise exhibitions both at external venues and in its own Museum planned for the Kanaal site near Antwerp, Belgium. 


Palazzo Fortuny
San Marco 3780-San Beneto




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