fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Lise Deharme and Rachilde
La Biennale di Venezia

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Lise Deharme and Rachilde

1898 – 1980, France
1860 – 1953, France


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

The Decadentist novel Monsieur Vénus (1884) by Rachilde (the pen name of Marguerite Eymery) and the Surrealist novel Oh! Violette, ou La Politesse des végétaux (1969) by Lise Deharme each sparked a scandal upon publication, which their authors stubbornly faced down. Both tell the story of women bursting with volatile sensuality, drawing curious parallels between their amorous adventures and the metamorphic nature of the plant kingdom. The first in order of publication, Monsieur Vénus, tells the story of Raoule de Vénérande, a mannish French noblewoman who falls in love with the ephebic young florist Jacques Silvert, dragging him into an ambiguous game of psychological and physical domination. The gender fluidity found even in its title is also a guiding theme in the oneiric, erotic adventures of the young protagonist in Oh! Violette, ou La Politesse des végétaux – who at one point mentions reading a rare copy of Monsieur Vénus, and is almost always naked and surrounded by flowers as she enjoys her admirers’ attentions. As a further demonstration of their strange kinship, both novels feature a set of images by the artist Leonor Fini, where the female characters’ bodies are often nude and androgynous, surrounded by plants, and drawn in a sinuous, seductive style.

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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