A 3m version of Lorenzo Quinn’s monumental sculpture ‘Support’ is on display at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid to remind participants of rising sea levels that threaten Venice and all coastal cities around the world.
The COP25 climate conference started in Madrid on Monday. The Spanish government offered to host the event after its original host Chile withdrew last month due to riots over economic inequality.
The installation, first unveiled by Quinn at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and commissioned by Halcyon Art International, shows two gigantic hands of a child emerging from the Grand Canal in Venice to protect and support the historical building of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.
The 3m version of the sculpture has been brought to COP25 in Madrid as part of a partnership between UN Climate Climate Change, Lorenzo Quinn and Halcyon Art International.
‘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 one,’ said Quinn. ‘Let’s join “hands” and make a lasting change.’
Given the record floods that hit Venice last month, reaching the highest levels in more than 50 years and leaving the world heritage site sunk in almost 2m of water, Quinn’s alert sounds more urgent than ever. If the city is unable to adequately protect itself from worsening flooding, it could lose its status as a World Heritage Site, warned UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.
According to experts, there are two main causes for the floods in Venice: whilst the city is sinking into the mud it was built on, it is also threatened from rising sea levels due to climate change.
Quinn’s sculpture illustrates humanity’s capacity to damage the environment but also its ability to save it. Whilst ‘Support’ creates a sense of fear in highlighting the fragility of the Venetian building surrounded by water, as a sign of hope, the hands which hold up the walls of a building remind us of our capability to re-balance the world and address global issues such as climate change.