Out of the Burning Falls
VENICE - After their remarkable success at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the thirty sculptures created by artist Koen Vanmechelen are presented in Venice during the solo exhibition Burning Falls. The Michelangelo Foundation invited the artist for the second edition of Homo Faber. In addition, the Belgian artist is organising his first post-pandemic Cosmocafe at the Global Campus of Human Rights during the opening of the 59th Biennial of Venice.
In the old glass furnace of Fondazione Berengo Art Space, Koen Vanmechelen’s solo exhibition Burning Falls opens on April 8th. The exhibition is part of Homo Faber; a ground-breaking cultural event dedicated to contemporary craftsmanship organised by The Michelangelo Foundation. The central focus of this edition, ‘Crafting a more Human Future,’ is about creating a more sustainable and inclusive future. Homo Faber and Burning Falls coincide with the opening of the 59th Biennial 2022, which will take place from April 23 to November 27, 2022 under the title The Milk of Dreams.
The artworks travelled from Florence where they were previously displayed at Vanmechelen’s well-received solo exhibition Seduzione in the Uffizi. With this exhibition, the sculptures - combinations of glass and marble - return to the place where they were born: the island of Murano. The artist also continues his Cosmopolitan Renaissance narrative, with the burning mouth of the furnace as its focal point. “Glass," the artist states, "is the material of the future. It is both recyclable and mouldable. And it invites connection and teamwork, merging creativity and craftsmanship. Working with glass is like working with water: the liquid becomes solid when the elements come together. Fire enables this transformation, and the state between solid and liquid is symbolised by a firebird, like a generator of action, or a flow of lava, leading to the image of Burning Falls.”
New are two glass chandeliers, Formula Segreta, whose secret formula is the chain of evolution, the process of origin, decay, and regeneration of everything created. Burning Falls runs from April 8 until May 15; afterward, Fondazione Berengo Art Space will host Glasstress; a recurring exhibition that brings together glass art by contemporary artists which will also feature work of Vanmechelen.
After the world tour of his pop-up Cosmocafe was temporarily halted due to the pandemic, Vanmechelen rekindles this remarkable initiative in Venice. In the Monastery of San Nicolo, the first post-pandemic Cosmocafe will be held on April 24. The Monastery is home to the Global Campus of Human Rights. It represents more than 100 different universities and is the most prominent institution for human rights education globally, initiated and supported by the European Union.
The Cosmocafe is part of Vanmechelen’s evolving Human Rights Pavilion, launched at the previous Biennial (in 2019) and takes shape as an evolving OPUS over different years during a world tour through nearly all continents. This project is supported by the Global Campus of Human Rights, Fondazione Berengo, and the MOUTH Foundation. The OPUS is based on dozens of Cosmocafes, special meetings, and discussions with notable thinkers and doers. So far, more than 20 Cosmocafes have been organized in various countries (Chili, South Africa, Mexico, Australia) and with multiple partners (Peace Research Institute, Lumos, Human Rights Commission). At the Monastery of San Nicolo, the topic is Homo Faber, Man as Maker of his destiny and environment.
The eight participants in this first post-pandemic Cosmocafe are Akosua Adoma Owusu (filmmaker), Alessandro Lenzi (author and director), Carlo Giordanetti (creative director & CEO of Swatch Art Peace Hotel), Chido Govera (mushroom farmer, educator & entrepreneur), Manfred Nowak (Global Campus Human Rights), Rana Dasgupta (novelist & essayist), Xiaolu Guo (novelist, essayist & filmmaker) and Koen Vanmechelen.