Sunday 25 August 2019

Sculptor Lorenzo Quinn wants to chisel away at nationalism with monumental work

His latest towering work will be displayed for the Venice Biennale.

Lorenzo Quinn will display his new work, Building Bridges, in Venice. (Halcyon Art International)
Lorenzo Quinn will display his new work, Building Bridges, in Venice. (Halcyon Art International)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Renowned sculptor Lorenzo Quinn aims to chisel away at nationalism with his monumental new work.

The artist has said he wants his art to counteract movements against globalism in the modern world.

Quinn,the son of Oscar-winner Anthony Quinn and a citizen of Italy and the US, has said his cosmopolitan upbringing has been a “cure for nationalism”.

The sculptor said he wants his art to have the same effect and help bring about a “united world”.

Quinn will install six 50-foot-tall clasped hands in Venice to celebrate and provoke feelings of unity.

The sculptor, 52, said the towering work will be a monument to crossing divides, and deliberately erected in a city famed for its bridges.

Quinn has questioned nationalist feelings he believes are on the rise, and said local distinctions do not matter in the face of dramatic changes to both politics and climate.

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Quinn hopes the piece will spread a message of unity. (Halcyon Art International)

His previous work, Support, saw the artist place a giant pair of hands in Venice’s Grant Canal to highlight global warming.

Quinn wants to continue his personal statements with his new piece for the Venice Biennale, Building Bridges, and believes art has the power to affect change.

He told the Press Association his art aimed to be an antidote to national divides, saying: “How do you nationalise love? How do you nationalise family, friendship, wisdom, hope?”

Quinn added: “Humanity has never gone anywhere when they close themselves off. It is when humanity has opened up that they have grown.

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The work will stand at the Arsenale in Venice. (Halcyon Art International)

“There is something of a movement now, unfortunately, about getting away from globalisation.

“But the world is global.

“It sounds a bit naive to say I want a untied world, but that’s what I would like. I would like a united world. I don’t like extremism.”

The Italian-born artist said that without patronage it is down to individual artists to make a principled stand, and he believes their work can have an impact.

He said: “If I have a chance to do anything about it then I should, as an artist.

“We are not politicians, but we can also open people’s eyes. An image is worth a thousand words.

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Quinn’s previous Venice work, Support. (Halcyon Art International)

“We might not have the Medici telling us what we’re supposed to paint, it’s more each individual. But absolutely it does affect people. I think it does have an impact.”

Quinn’s latest work will stand at the Arsenale in Lorenzo Quinn, constructed for the city’s Biennale.

Six giant pairs of arms and hands, 50 feet tall and 65 feet wide, have been crafted to arch over a waterway.

Having previously tackled the subject of climate change in the Italian city, Quinn wants to send a message of unity, which he believes is under threat in the same way as the environment.

The Barcelona-based artist said: “My art is very optimistic. Privately I find I’m not that optimistic, when you see what is happening in the world.

“I have three children. What world are we handing back to them?

“What bothers me is that there are some forces that are controlling really a lot of the great actions happening in the world. Right now they’re intent on closing up the world.

“We’re not seeing the big picture. We’re distracted.”

Quinn believes there is a global backlash against “barriers” being constructed, and thinks there is a hope for the unified world he wants.

He said: “We’re going to travel, out of this world. Are you going to say you’re on London when we’re on Mars?”

The different structures of Building Bridges stand for love, hope, wisdom, help, friendship and faith.

Quinn began his career as an actor following in the footsteps of his father before turning to sculpture. His work has been displayed worldwide.

Building Bridges is open to the public in Venice’s Arsenale from May 10.

PA Media

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