When in May, 2018 the gigantic hands by Lorenzo Quinn were removed from the façade of Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, I felt sad. I had gotten used to seeing them along the Grand Canal, so imposing and, at the same time, disturbing: the fact that Venice is fragile is quite clear, and with the sculpture “Support”, Quinn has made it evident for the entire world.
In Venice, it is possible to admire, although only for a limited period, two more sculptures by this artist along the Grand Canal: “Flying”, at the Centurion Palace Hotel, and “The Force of Nature”, at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.
“Flying” represents a woman placed inside a circle, her arms wide open. It is made out of aluminum. It is dedicated to the force, strength and freedom that dwell in every woman.
Looking at this work of art, you really get some feeling of absolute freedom. The figure is all alone, as to suggest that any woman is the only maker of her own destiny: she makes her own choices, unconditionally, she is free from any prejudice, she is fearless and strong, she fights for what she believes in and she never gives up.
The female figure is the subject of the other sculpture by Quinn along the Grand Canal, at Ca’ Sagredo.
This woman, the “Force of Nature”, seems to be playing with our planet. As Lorenzo Quinn has stated, the idea for this sculpture and similar ones (there are several in different cities around the world) sprung up after two major natural catastrophes, the tsunami that struck Thailand in 2004 and the hurricane Katrina, which in 2005 devastated New Orleans and other cities in the South of the USA.
This artist has always been concerned with the problems that our planet has been facing. What he is trying to say is that human beings are destroying the Earth, and sometimes the Earth itself reminds us of how destructive Nature can be.
The woman in this sculpture represents in fact Mother Nature, to whom in ancient times human beings would offer gifts and prayers, shamanic rites and dances, in order to calm her wrath.
Moving from Venice to the mainland, and precisely to Forte Marghera in Mestre, we can admire one more masterpiece donated by the master himself to our city. The title is emblematic of the significance of the sculpture: “Stop Playing”. Two hands hold back the rubber of a slingshot, which is about to launch a sphere: our planet!
As with “Support”, the model for these hands were the hands of Anthony Jr. Quinn, Lorenzo’s thirteen-year-old son.
The artist is clearly shouting out that it is about time we stopped playing childishly with Mother Nature.
When I went to see this sculpture, there was no one around, I was alone, and sometimes silence can be louder than thousands of people screaming. The significance is clear: we should loosen the tension of the slingshot, meaning that we have no right to destroy all the natural resources of the world.
At the same time, Lorenzo Quinn is also underlining how fragile and compromised the Nature of Venice is. Our unique and marvelous city is a stunning jewel, and everybody, both Venetians and foreigners, are asked to treasure it with care and respect!
Cinzia Maestrini and Monica Gambarotto