Monday, 30 April 2018

Those Big Hands Need a Home - #ClimateChange in Venice - "Support" by Lorenzo Quinn

Support by Lorenzo Quinn - Photo courtesy of Halcyon Gallery
(Venice, Italy) Lorenzo Quinn's technique is to first conceptualize his sculptures with written words. The text is then displayed along with the artwork as an integral part of the piece.

Two years ago, on his birthday, May 7, Lorenzo was with his friend, Lorenza Lain, the general manager of Ca' Sagredo Hotel, when he got the idea for Support -- two giant white hands of a child emerging from the water of the Grand Canal, supporting and protecting the historic palace.
Venice, the floating city of art and culture that has inspired
humanity for centuries, is threatened by climate change and
time decay and is in need of the support of our generation
and future ones.

As the young grow in hunger for knowledge and action, so
does their ability to spread ideas and inspire us all. The hands 
of a child, representing our present and future, supporting 
life and culture, hold the historic palazzo of Ca' Sagredo in
Venice -- the birthplace of my mother and my wife, a city to
which I feel deep connection, love and gratitude.

Sitting one day on Ca' Sagredo's terrace, viewing the scene
of the Grand Canal and reflecting on art, history and our
responsibilities, I was inspired by the vision of Support rising
from the waters, greeting and protecting us all.

The realisation of this artwork is a fulfillment of a dream and
a hope that we all share in our hearts.

---Lorenzo Quinn

Lorenza Lain & Lorenzo Quinn on Ca' Sagredo terrace - Photo: Cat Bauer
Lorenzo is one of Anthony Quinn's thirteen children (by three wives and two mistresses), and was at his father's side when he died on June 3, 2001. Lorenzo's mother was Quinn's second wife, Iolanda Addolori, a Venetian wardrobe mistress whom Anthony Quinn met on the Rome set of Barabbas in 1961. Lorenzo split his childhood between the United States and Italy, and feels deeply connected to Venice.

Support by Lorenzo Quinn - Photo: Cat Bauer
Support had been given permission to be exhibited as a temporary art installation during La Biennale di Venezia's 57th International Art Exhibition in 2017 until it closed on November 26, 2017.

Today, at a conference on the terrace of Ca' Sagredo, Lorenzo Quinn said that he was sad. He feels the artwork belongs to everyone, and has donated Support to Venice, but a public space to display the monumental work has yet to be found. Since it was a temporary exhibition for La Biennale Art Exhibition, Support must leave Ca' Sagredo by next week, May 7th, Lorenzo's 52nd birthday.

Right now, the plan is to move Support to Spain, where Lorenzo has his studio. Unfortunately, the hands must be cut in order to transport them. Someone asked that instead of the hands moving from Ca' Sagredo up the Grand Canal to Piazzale Roma, if they could instead go in the opposite direction so that the whole city of Venice could see them.

Lorenzo Quinn & Cat Bauer - Photo: Silvana Di Puorto "Support" at Ca' Sagredo in Venice
Lorenzo Quinn & Cat Bauer - Photo: Silvana Di Puorto
In my view, it seemed nonsensical to move the hands all the way to Spain, just to move them back to Venice when a permanent space was found. I thought that Support might also fit the theme of La Biennale's International Architecture Exhibition, FREESPACE, which previews on May 24, and focuses on "a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity." (While researching this post, after discovering Support on such sites like The Atlantic, I even found it featured on an architecture site, Archipanic, published during the 2017 Art Biennale as an architecture and design-related event; Archipanic's motto is: “Be respectful and keep a down to earth attitude, because humans must always be at the center“.)

I suggested that they reapply for permission as a temporary exhibition for the Architecture Exhibition, which would allow the hands to remain in place until November 25, and give them more time to find a permanent location in Venice. I have no idea if that's even possible, but the worst that can happen is that the answer is no.

Who knows what the future will bring. For sure, those big, powerful hands draw attention as you pass by on the Grand Canal. I wonder how many people know what they actually represent...

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog


  1. Who knows what the future will bring. For sure, those big hands draw attention as you pass by on the Grand Canal. I wonder how many people know what they actually represent...

  2. This is not the first time that hands made by Lorenzo Quinn are left in Venice after the end of a Biennale.
    Remember "This is not a Game" at San Servolo 2011? (
    The big hand was removed from the fondamenta of S. Servolo, but spent the following year 2012 lieing about rotting on the fondamenta near the vaporetto stop of S. Marta. Who ever responsible for not caring... in 2013 it was gone.

  3. Hi, Brigitte - I vaguely remember "This is Not a Game," but forgot about it. Art Biennale 2011 (ILLUMInations with Bice Curiger)was super intense, with all sorts of dramas going on, and I will confess that Lorenzo Quinn's installation was not high on my radar. That was the year that Saudi Arabia made its first appearance; Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was here; Egypt's 30 Days of Running in Place by Ahmed Basiony shocked the system after his murder in Tahir Square; Allora & Calzadilla's jogging on the treadmill of an over-turned tank at the US Pavilion; Christian Marclay's brilliant "The Clock" was ticking; everyone was running around with "Free Ai Weiwei" red tote bags; the India Pavilion was titled EVERYONE AGREES IT'S ABOUT TO EXPLODE, and that is what it felt like.

    It's a shame, because I would have asked Quinn what happened to that big hand. (I wonder if he would have gotten permission to put "Support" up in the Grand Canal in the year 2011...)

    Thanks for reminding me, and staying on top of things.

    I would love to read your blog, but it's in German. Is there any chance of adding a translation widget? I don't generally use Chrome.

    Thanks again!

  4. Nice post. Not the first big hand in Venice. I Remember 1996 "Mano"

  5. Jon, thanks for reading and for another Big Hand in Venice alert. I love the photo with San Giorgio in the background. "Mano" in 1996 was before my time. Who was the artist?

  6. Jon Alicbar's reply regarding Mario Irarrazbal has strangely disappeared. Here it is from my alerts, together with the link:

    Jon has left a new comment on your post "Those Big Hands Need a Home - #ClimateChange in Ve...":

    He is a Chilean sculptor, Mario Irarrazabal, you can see pictures of his works here:
    Take care!