DYSFUNCTIONAL – sustainably blurring the lines between art and design

rethink sustainability

DYSFUNCTIONAL – sustainably blurring the lines between art and design

Our DYSFUNCTIONAL exhibition, in partnership with Carpenters Workshop Gallery, provides a commentary on art and design. Unveiled during the Biennale and set in the Ca’ d’Oro Palazzo, one of the most esteemed palaces in Venice, the expo aspires to create a dialogue between the city of Venice history and resurrects notions of contemporary art. DYSFUNCTIONAL answers the questions: What is art? What is design? By blurring the boundaries between art and design, 22 rising and international artists created bespoke artworks that display the mutual relationship between art and design.

By blurring the boundaries between art and design, 22 rising and international artists created bespoke artworks that display the mutual relationship between art and design.

Built in the 15th century, the Ca’ d’Oro is a stunning example of gothic architecture filled with priceless masterpieces such as Jan van Eyck’s Crucifixion and Andrea Mantegna’s St Sebastian. Renovated by the rethinker Baron Franchchetti, the owner of the Palazzo in the 18th century, the artworks featured sit at the intersection of a time of intense change: the Renaissance. A time where rising technology and new philosophies took providence.

Today, there is monumental movement in regards to social consciousness affecting all spheres: sustainability. A frequent theme at both the Biennale and the DYSFUNCTIONAL exhibition, many artists took to their craft to make a statement on the issues that are threatening our very existence.

Today, there is monumental movement in regards to social consciousness affecting all spheres: sustainability.

Virgil Abloh pays tribute to Venice

Virgil Abloh, fashion designer and a Carpenters Workshop Gallery artist, created an extraordinary “sinking” tribute to Venice for DYSFUNCTIONAL. His golden bronze furniture sits askance on the Ca’ d’Oro terrace to signify “acqua alta” – the high tide in Venice. The context of his creation is one that speaks of how the world is a “precious place” and growing concerns around climate change and global warming.

The tilting angle of the chairs and lamp appear as if, at any moment, they could be claimed by rising water. The message of his work is clear, “this land is not our land” and we are part of a complex bionetwork. We must do our part and these pieces act as a powerful component to bolster this message.

The context of his creation is one that speaks of how the world is a “precious place” and growing concerns around climate change and global warming.

 


Plastic pollution in the form of a chandelier

Not alone in his view, Stuart Haygarth, a well-known British artist, literally scoured the beaches on the coast of England, collecting discarded or overlooked objects to create his colourful “plastic chandelier”. His ambition was to “elevate the commonplace”, the mundane and construct a piece of art that was both functional yet told a rather perturbing message: it is imperative we rethink our consumption, reuse and recycle to secure our future prosperity.
 

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Bringing nature inside 

An artist well known for his use of natural elements, Nacho Carbonell, whose work was featured, not only in the magnificent mosaic courtyard but beautifully scattered throughout the Ca’ d’Oro, aspired to engage with the atmosphere of the palace, and Venice itself. It was impossible not to fall under the spell of his epic tree-type structures throughout the palace. Carbonell seeks, very successfully, to bring nature to the viewer. For the artist, the emotional experience of his art is of upmost importance and he wants the participant to feel as though they are “walking through a forest”. Known to fashion pieces from items he finds around his atelier in Holland, his work is a true homage to nature.  

The never-ending cycle

Delicately juxtaposed against Andrea Mantegna’s “Crucifixion”, Studio Drift’s magical light installation draws on the relationship between nature and technology. Each light is made from a dandelion that is carefully fixed to a LED light. One may feel a dandelion is a fragile flower but they are surprisingly robust and they remind us of the cyclical nature of life. “Fragile Future Chandelier” symbolises our need to connect with nature despite the mounting technology that surrounds us.


The artists’ perspective

DYSFUNCTIONAL, in its own way revaluates the role of art and design in the context of the contemporary art scene but the sustainability message goes further as many of the artists seek to provoke us into thinking about our own existence.

The sustainability message goes further as many of the artists seek to provoke us into thinking about our own existence.

The very thread that holds us all together is nature and it’s clearly presented in the above examples. Yet it’s present, with adept subtlety, in works such as Michele Lamy’s punching bags titled “What are we fighting for?” where she compels the viewer to be combative and fight against injustice. Furthermore, the Campana Brothers created an installation made from sustainable materials like raffia and dried palm leaves in a nod to nature and Mathieu Lehanneur’s ode to the ocean explores our fleeting relationship with waves, water and the artist’s own keen responsibility to the planet.
 

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The DYSFUNCTIONAL designers infused sustainability, into their extraordinary pieces, or made commentaries of the looming externalities, in the context of Venice’s rising waters, which are threatening us all.

Go and explore it for yourself. DYSFUNCTIONAL is open now until 24 November at the Ca’ d’Oro Palazzo.

Important information

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