Those visiting the Venice this year may have noticed something unusual while passing the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel: two giant hands reaching out from the murky, aquamarine waters below.
The disorienting vision is a sculpture called “Support” by artist Lorenzo Quinn, meant to provide a daunting premonition of the potential damage caused by climate change.
“Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries,” the artist said, in a statement released by Halcyon Gallery. “But to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay.”
The piece takes the shape of two childlike hands, magnified to the extreme, outstretched to buttress the towering hotel ― a Venice landmark. In part, Quinn was intrigued by the idea of creating hands because they are “considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body,” also possessing “the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.”
Quinn constructed the massive hands in a studio off-site, then transported them via canal to the hotel. You can see parts of the lengthy construction process on Instagram.
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Two human hands forge a lasting imprint in the viewer’s mind, perfectly mimicking the potential the body parts possess in real life ― to support, to defend, to create change. The visceral image is intended to draw focus on the fragility of the environments we too often take for granted, emphasizing the power of humans to either salvage or seal their fates.
The artist, as he explained on Instagram, “wants to speak to the people in a clear, simple and direct way through the innocent hands of a child and it evokes a powerful message which is that united we can make a stand to curb the climate change that affects us all. We must all collectively think of how we can protect our planet and by doing that we can protect our national heritage sites.”
Quinn’s “Support” will be on view until Nov. 26.