The mesmerizing works in the exhibition Burning Falls were previously on display at Koen Vanmechelen’s solo exhibition Seduzione in the Uffizi in Florence. Central in this set-up is the function of glass in Vanmechelen’s creation of his Cosmopolitan Renaissance narrative. Glass is the material of the future. It is recyclable and mouldable. Inviting connection and teamwork, glass requires the merger of creativity and craftsmanship. Working with glass is like working with water. The liquid becomes solid through the confrontation of materials. Fire is needed to enable that transformation. The state-in-between solid and liquid is symbolized by a firebird, a generator of action, or a stream of lava, the Burning Falls.
It carries fertility as well as danger. It can be both a blessing and a herald of doom. In our times, we can experience this in all the ecosystems around us. Nature is burning, and things are changing; water becomes a much-wanted commodity. In this exhibition, this idea is visualized through the clash of materials. Stone, glass and flesh are played off against each other in a dance of natural elements.
The question is what the human-animal will do. Will we give, or will we take? This perpetual conflict is inherent to the materials and the ebb and flow of Nature and culture. As is visible in the Medusa installations and the work Cosmopolitan Fossil. Most impressive are his glass chandeliers; Formula Segreta. Their secret formula is the chain of evolution, the process of origin, decay, and regeneration of every created thing.
The burning mouth of the furnace is the center of the arena. It keeps the balance. Are we destined to be spectators, watching from either here and now, from the past or the future? All the ingredients are present to immediately start constructing a new future in the United Nations International Year of Glass of 2022. If Burning Falls can break the walls that divide us today, it will create transparency in which we will recognize ourselves in the other.
The exhibition is part of the Homo Faber In Città event, organised by The Michelangelo Foundation.
Venice is a city built on craftsmanship, and its true charm lies in the workshops and small artisanal businesses tucked away in the city’s backstreets. With this edition of Homo Faber Event, visitors can experience the lagoon city in a different way with In Città, an immersive, city-wide addition to the main exhibition on San Giorgio Maggiore Island. Experience daily life in a workshop, watch artisans demonstrate their skills, have a go at age-old crafts, take in an exhibition and buy custom-made gifts made in front of your eyes. Find out more on the Homo Faber website