Art Installations

Welcome to the page dedicated to artistic installations at the Venice Boat Show, where creativity merges with nautical art in a suggestive and dynamic environment. In this section of our website, we invite you to discover the artworks that enliven the spaces of the Arsenale in Venice: prepare to be challenged, stimulated, and entertained by the artworks as you explore the connections between man and the sea, between creativity and maritime tradition.

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Tesa 99, Arsenale Nord

Looking for the Ark

Koen Vanmechelen

Vanmechelen presents ‘Looking for the Ark‘, a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Venetian vaporetto transformed into a floating gallery. This vessel, carrying a microcosm of our world, serves as an invitation to reimagine our world. It reflects the human condition and urges us to navigate the turbulent waters of our existence with awareness, responsibility, and hope. The ark is accompanied by various installations by Vanmechelen, guided by the belief that “The Future depends on forgotten memories”.

The Venetian vaporetto-ark carries with it a microcosm of our world, reflecting the human condition. Crowded to the soul, this ark carries figures – from Frida Kahlo to Albert Einstein, from Mahatma Gandhi to Mother Teresa – who are emblems of human genius and philosophical thought. Each of them carries a message that transcends the limits of time and geography. The canopy of the ark hosts a congregation of nearly extinct species, a poignant reminder of the Anthropocene. These creatures, halfway in our realm and halfway in another, are an invitation to environmental consciousness. Together with the space shuttle, they invite contemplation of the dual nature of human progress. Because we are the others, as the ‘Genome Book’ also shows. And finally, the artist reminds us with a large neon sign of the importance of history: our future depends on what we remember or do not remember from the past. Against the backdrop of the Biennale, ‘Looking for the Ark’ urges us to navigate the turbulent waters of our existence with awareness, responsibility, and hope.

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Area Scali, Arsenale Nord


Manolo Valdés

The monumental sculpture by Manolo ValdésLa Diadema ” arrives at the Venice Boat Show.

Born in Spain in 1942, co-founder of the Equipo Crónica collective, the pioneering group of Pop Art in Spain, since 1982 Valdés has continued his solo career focusing especially on the reinterpretation of artistic and historical themes, with the creation of his own creative universe through inspiration combined with the study of materials. Manolo Valdés’ works can be found in numerous public and private collections, including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain. He currently lives and works in New York. Since 2016, he has been collaborating with the Contini Art Gallery, which represents him exclusively in Italy.

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Area Mare Laguna, Arsenale Nord

Building Bridges

Lorenzo Quinn

The artwork “Building Bridges” by Lorenzo Quinn depicts six pairs of hands extending from the two banks of the Carenaggio Piccolo basin to intertwine and form bridges 15 meters high and 20 meters long. Each of them represents one of the universal values of humanity: friendship, wisdom, help, faith, hope, and love.

In his message, Quinn emphasizes the importance of building bridges and coming together: together, people can achieve great deeds and reach goals that would otherwise be considered impossible. Venice, with its rich history, represents for Quinn the ideal city, as for over 1600 years it has continued to create bridges with other cultures. He mentions not only the commercial expeditions but also the exploratory ones carried out by the Venetians in the past, with examples such as Marco Polo bringing the Far East to Venice.

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Bacino di Carenaggio Medio, Arsenale Nord

Arena for a Tree

Klaus Littmann

A floating platform with a circular wooden structure is anchored at the Venice Boat Show: it’s called Arena for a Tree, by Swiss artist Klaus Littmann.

From afar, the permeable shell resembles a sort of inverted dome or a nut with young sprouts inside. Observed up close, it presents itself as architecture, sculpture, and stage all at once. The horizontal structure on three levels, inspired by the growth rings of a tree, provides seating for approximately fifty people, offering an ideal view of the central part where three trees are positioned.

The arena: a place of combat, later transformed into a theater, is a place that focuses attention on the central event. The three trees symbolize rootedness and mobility, serving as shelter, providing shade, and raw materials. The choice of the bald cypress is not random: it thrives both in fresh and saltwater environments, withstands the strongest wind gusts, survives floods, and also endures extreme temperatures in urban spaces.

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Tesa 91, Arsenale Nord

Sospiro d’Eterno

Lima Creazioni - Daniele Massaro

Sospiro d’Eterno (Sigh of Eternity ) represents the post from Casada of the noble palaces in Venice, depicted in paintings from the 16th century.
Initially, it was an oak tree that grew for 100-150 years in a forest, its vital sap bearing witness to life in the mountains. Then, cut to a length of about 11-13 meters, it was transformed into a Bricola.
Used as a marker for navigable parts of the sea, it became an active part of the life of the city on the water: today, with its cracks and erosions, it tells the story of its existence.
Planted in the sea, it observes the life flowing through the city suspended on water: the arrivals, the departures, the loves that are born, the artists, the poets, and the dreamers.
Like a modern Cinderella, it transforms from ugly and dirty into an elegant and refined artifact.

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Spazio Thetis, Arsenale Nord

The Path of Marco Polo

Simone Meneghello and Robert Phillips

Permanent installation of the artwork “The Path of Marco Polo” by Simone Meneghello and curated by Robert Phillips at the gardens of Spazio Thetis.

This new work further enriches the prestigious permanent collection of Spazio Thetis, serving as a tangible tribute to the explorer on the 700th anniversary of his death. It is part of the rich calendar of initiatives organized by the Municipality of Venice and the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, in collaboration with the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and numerous other local, national, and international associations.

Specifically conceived as a site-specific installation for Spazio Thetis, “The Path of Marco Polo” is a kind of conceptual journey through traces of the past, an exploration of memory and absence. Through a series of volumes without identifying titles, the artwork traces an ideal path starting from the Venetian Arsenal, like a trail “unrolling” from west to east along 30 meters and made with 50 white encyclopedic volumes, inscribed with portions of Marco Polo’s “The Travels of Marco Polo.”

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Tesa 102, CNR-ISMAR


Francesca Busca

Guest at the Tesa 102 of CNR-ISMAR, Francesca Busca will use the waste produced within the ISMAR structures, the Acqua Alta platform, and the oceanographic vessel Gaia Blu of the CNR to create an artwork that will be premiered during the Venice Boat Show, scheduled from May 29 to June 2. Creating art from waste is the intuition of the Italo-English artist, founder of Art for Trash©, a project that falls under Eco-Artivism, a movement she promotes, designed to “Transform the undesirable into desirable – says Francesca Busca – the shame into wonder, the superfluous into essential to provoke real change.”

The general public will have the opportunity to witness the creation of the artwork made from CNR-ISMAR waste right at the Arsenale in Venice, an extraordinary site-specific opportunity to understand the connection between marine environmental science and art!

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Spazio Thetis, Arsenale Nord

Lagoon Visions: Between Heart, Art, and Science

Jacopo Scarpa, Luca Fontanella, and Antonietta Grandesso

Three are the fundamental elements of our splendid city of Venice: art, science, and the lagoon, which have ideally merged here in the Arsenale since ancient times. This is a quick reflection on the evolution of the relationship between humans and this extraordinary environment.
In Fontanella’s paintings, we find a multitude of glimpses of salt marshes, exalting that original nature that still reveals itself today to those who wish to lose themselves in spaces unknown to tourism. Then, in the paintings of some of the greatest Venetian artists of the past century, there are the more famous islands, where humans have adapted the space to their needs.
Thus far, the art; but without the science that takes care of, for instance, the “ghebi” or the “velme,” this environment, documented through a series of frames, would be destined to last only a short time.
The journey concludes with a look to the future: the “bricola” made from recycled materials and the electric racing boat. Two examples of what the future should be like if we wish to continue enjoying art in an environment like ours.

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