Rust: Louise Manzon at the Fondazione Cini in Venice

Installation by Louise Manzon
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Isola San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia
From April 2 to May 17, 2015Tutte le pagine

An event by Advantage Première Art Fund


“Art?… Art! Sculpture?… Sculpture! Two questions and two exclamatory and emphatic statements. Both having a resplendent and fortuitous confirmation in Louise Manzon’s artistic practice”
(from the presentation by Achille Bonito Oliva)


Louise Manzon’s work has always been mindful of the theme of vitality of natural environments, the perils that threaten them and the hope for their salvation.
The site-specific installation designed in Venice in the exhibition space at the Cini Foundation on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore expands on several of the creative themes most dear to the artist: the female figure and her role as the watchful and maternal guardian of life’s secrets and aquatic creatures, and the redemptive importance of the quality of the waters in which they live.
The space, which materializes like a large aquarium, spreads out as if it were a seabed, removed from history and distant from time.
The regal female figure dominating this space transcends the reflections of the lagoon waters and focuses on the fish swimming near to her. She is inspired by Tethys, the ancient divinity who embodies the principle of the female gender and who is the protectress of marine life. She is both a divine figure and a sculptural representation, ancient and contemporary, a woman whose place in time is discernible by the veil of rust covering her.
A veil that denotes transformation and change, the oxidation of the material and the oxygenation of the waters’ depths, the beginning and the end, the disintegration and the rebirth.
In this sense, rust is not a final condition of abandonment but a transitional state introducing a change, a new beginning.
The school of fish, with their primeval shapes, represents aquatic life; the force of the species threatened by pollution and negligence, factors that even out of water undermine vitality, accentuated in the artist’s work by vivid colours and darting shapes.
Louise Manzon’s fish are moulded as if the primordial power of the sea has bestowed an energy that is regenerated into motion by the terracotta, coloured by the adulterating ability to raise kiln’s temperature so as to melt and sediment the chromatic vision as it transforms into matter.
Modelled in terracotta – the material of creation – the forms bring to mind buoyant primeval beings, the first forms of aquatic life emerging from the depths of the abysses.
The elegance of the timeless forms harmoniously converges towards the open mouths that bring back the joy of a world that has lived and still lives with us, with our myths and our legends.
Ancient but very actual figures that remind us of the importance of environmental protection and of the centrality of the relationship between humanity, nature and culture.


Advantage Première Art Fund is an independent fund dedicated to works of art in collection. It was established by Advantage Financial and it focuses primarily on artistic production from the 1900s as well as contemporary works, by identifying emerging and innovative sectors. Advantage Première Art Fund has developed an ethical principle used in the selection and holding of its works by favouring selection standards that are most consistent with Advantage Financial’s strategy.
In this instance, the interest in Louise Manzon’s work is based on the presence of elements that are particularly significant to Advantage Première: attention to environmental sustainability (in May 2013 Advantage Financial, with the Support of the President of the Italian Republic and the Patronage of the Ministry for the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Seas, issued the first of three annual reports entitled ‘Advantage Financial Ecological Footprint’), the attention towards gender issues (fostering artistic production by women in Italy), the attention to the theme of inter-culturalism (by following the work of artists who were educated and live and work within different cultures, expressing a common language and the sharing of intellectual and civil values) and attention to the use of artistic materials and techniques that are eco-compatible and respectful of the environment and of the most eminent traditions.