Venice 2019 – Tree-like lighting designs, ‘sinking’ furniture, iridescent glasswork and over 50 works are set in dialog with the Italian master collection and architecture of Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro. The DYSFUNCTIONAL exhibition features furniture and site-specific installations seeking to forget functionality whilst breaking the boundaries between art and design.
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“We decided to stage DYSFUNCTIONAL during the world’s most important art exhibition, the Venice Art Biennale, to question what defines an artwork, why can artworks not be functional and when does design become art?” Explain Julien Lombrail and Loic Le Gaillard, co-founders of Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
The exhibition complements the Renaissance and Baroque collection of baron Giorgio Franchetti which is on permanent display at the Ca’ d’Oro. Throughout the three-story palazzo the sculptures are displayed to create a sense of wonder and discovery, celebrating the venue’s rich history.
In the monumental 15th century courtyard of Ca’ d’Oro, visitors can walk through a forest of light by Nacho Carbonell. The golden shimmering texture of his tree-like, organic sculptures reference the gilt and polychrome decorations.
In the Palazzo’s garden the Campana Brothers raise awareness on sustainability with an installation made of raffia and dried palm leaves from the Brazilian forests, typically used for indigenous housing.
Water is a recurring theme. Virgil Abloh has created a series of chairs and benches with a doorstop under a leg and a floorlamp, all casted in solid bronze and with topsy-turvy angles as if they have been submerged by a rising flood at any moment. Named Acqua Alta, the furniture collection resembles a sinking installation which invites to think about rising sea levels.
Mathieu Lehanneur has created green marble and granite sculptures echoing the waves of the nearby lagoon. Named Ocean Memories Acqua Alta, the series is inspired by “the floating city frozen into stone,” says the designer.
Raising awareness of plastic pollution, Stuart Haygarth’s Tide Colour is a ‘planet’ made of plastic objects found on the British coastline. Studio Job’s Sinking Ship sculpture and table ponders “the inevitable downfall of even the most advanced and luxurious of human endeavours”.
Vincent Dubourg’s Doors of Paradise interacts with a bas-relief from the 10th-12th centuries that was created to ward off bad spirits.
In the chapel, Studio Drift has created a light installation made of fragile dandelion seeds and LEDs around Andrea Mantegna’s painting San Sebastian, which is the heart of the museum’s collection.
The Verhoeven Twins teamed with Piaget to present Moments of Happiness, a mystical constellation of feather-light and supple impressions of bubbles, whose iridescent surfaces reflect and refract light.
Joep Van Lieshout looks at the role of the artist in his RENEGADE series. He rejects the labels artist and designer and turns any object that he gets his hands on – even his own existing sculptures – into lamps, making every work as valuable or invaluable as the other.
The self-portrait Real Time XLby Maarten Baas shows the artist in his atelier indicating the time. Created specifically for this exhibition, the designer addresses different aspects of passing time: getting older, moving forward and looking back.
On show also works by Wendell Castle, Rick Owens, Ingrid Donat, Frederik Molenschot, Charles Trevelyan and Vincenzo De Cotiis, Michele Lamy and more. Sound and atmosphere curated by Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay A9 speakers.
All images by Carpenters Workshop Gallery.