Presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery in partnership with Lombard Odier,
DYSFUNCTIONAL showcases new collectible design and artworks by 22 international artists.
Breaking the boundaries between art and design, over 50 works seek to forget functionality
whilst celebrating the power of artistic expression and extraordinary craftsmanship.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery provides a platform for new site-specific works to complement
the Renaissance and Baroque collection of baron Giorgio Franchetti which is on permanent
display at the Ca’ d’Oro. Throughout the three-story palazzo, named after the gilt decorations
which once adorned the façade, the sculptures are displayed to create a sense of wonder and
discovery, celebrating the venue’s rich history.
In the monumental 15th century courtyard of Ca’ d’Oro, visitors can walk through a forest of light by Nacho Carbonell. The golden shimmering texture of his tree-like, organic sculptures reference the gilt and polychrome decorations. Similarly, the patina of Ingrid Donat’s Klimt Cabinet (2017) refers to the palazzo’s former golden decorations, while its openwork facade was inspired by the patterns of Venetian stained-glass windows and Burano lace. The Verhoeven Twins will transform, with Piaget, the First Floor Lodge with Moments of Happiness (2019), a mystical constellation of feather-light and supple impressions of bubbles, whose iridescent surfaces reflect and refract light.
Throughout the exhibition other artists raise issues centered around water. Inspired by the tide
peaks which regularly affect Venetian life, Virgil Abloh’s Acqua Alta (2019) resembles a sinking
installation which acts as a time stamp in history that invites us to think about rising sea levels,
the fate of Venice and our planet. Mathieu Lehanneur’s green marble and granite sculptures
Ocean Memories Acqua Alta (2019) echo the waves of the nearby lagoon.
Forming a dialog with Ca’ d’Oro’s permanent art collection is Doors of Paradise (2019) by Vincent Dubourg, which interacts with a bas-relief from the 10th-12th centuries that were created to ward off bad spirits. Working for the first time with clay, the artist randomly places layers of clay to form a door that obscures the view. Ode (2019), a 17-metre-long wall made of recycled fiberglass and silver-plated brass by Vincenzo De Cotiis, works as an archaic architectural gesture and conceptualizes the space. The sculpture is megalithic and echoes its surrounding artworks. Fragile Future 3 (2019) by Studio Drift forms a frame of light around Andrea Mantegna’s painting San Sebastian (1506), which is the heart of the museum’s collection and for which Franchetti built a chapel decorated with marble. The light installation, which is made of fragile dandelion seeds and LEDs, invites the viewer to rethink our connection with nature.
Joep Van Lieshout looks at the role of the artist in his series RENEGADE (2019). He rejects the labels artist and designer and turns any object that he gets his hands on – even his own existing sculptures – into lamps, making every work as valuable or invaluable as the other. Rick Owens presents Double Bubble (2013), one of his most popular works in collaboration with Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Finally, in this museum that features an abundance of old masters, the modern maestro of collectible design, Wendell Castle, is represented by Above within Beyond (2014), one of just a few of his sculptures ever to be cast in bronze.
Elsewhere, the self-portrait Real Time (2019) by Maarten Baas shows the artist in his atelier indicating the time. Created specifically for this exhibition in Leonardo da Vinci’s homeland, exactly 500 years after he passed away, this work references the Vitruvian Man, while Baas addresses different aspects of passing time: getting older, moving forward and looking back.