La Serenissima: Sophie’s art in Second Life

Saint Phalle (Perpetua1010) La Serenissima, February 2023

Running through until March 11th, 2023 is La Serenissima, a two-part exhibition at the Venezia/Venice region in Second Life by Sophie de Saint Phalle (Perpetua1010). I say two parts, as the exhibition is split between indoor and and outdoor display area.

Sophie is an artist in the physical world who uses Second Life to reach audiences who might not otherwise encounter her work. She does this through exhibitions like La Serenissima and also through her own gallery/studio space Subcutan Art Gallery and Multimedia Centre. I’ve covered her work several times in these pages and have thoroughly enjoyed doing so; her art is rich in content and form, drawing as it does on many of her own travels and experiences – as with Infinite, a magnificent celebration of indigenous Australian art I reviewed a year ago.

Saint Phalle (Perpetua1010) La Serenissima, February 2023

Some of the pieces from Infinite are displayed in the outdoor section of La Serenissima, together with some pieces from an exhibition hosted at Niccoli Sweetwater’s Basilique region back in September 2020, and which formed my introduction to Sophie’s work. I point to both of these exhibitions not because I’ve written about them, but because the appearance of pieces from them nicely underscores the focus of La Serenissimia: a personal retrospective by Sophie featuring a selection of art she has produced over the course of the last decade.

A graduate of the Academy of fine Arts Vienna, Sophie is by turn also a cartoonist – having had a particular focus on political satire -, an author and a ghost writer for certain well-known comedians. As an artist, her focus was initially the nude body and abstract art, but her range and scope have since broadened, even reaching into 3D art within Second Life. She is very much an experimentalist and also an expressionist – as her work repeatedly demonstrates.

Saint Phalle (Perpetua1010) La Serenissima, February 2023

A red carpet leads the way to the indoor exhibition. Occupying three floors, this section features gouache paintings on the lower floor, watercolours on the middle floor and a selection of her nude studies on the upper.

All three levels are as captivating as the outdoor works, but I have to admit to being drawn particularly to the middle level watercolours as they depict Sophie’s travels through Italy and Switzerland. For me, they are pieces which capture the spirit of the places they represent in a fabulously minimalist and / or focused style.

Saint Phalle (Perpetua1010) La Serenissima, February 2023
For those familiar with Sophie’s work through individual exhibitions, La Serenissima offers an opportunity to experience the breath of her work in a relaxed setting. For those who have not seen Sophie’s work before, I recommend a visit to this exhibition while it remains open, perhaps followed by a visit to Subcutan Art Gallery and Multimedia Centre.

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