59th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia
Catalonia in Venice_LLIM by Lara Fluxà curated by Oriol Fontdevila
Docks Cantieri Cucchini. Ramo del Zoccolo. Castello 40
April 23 – November 27, 2022
Water and glass give birth to LLIM, the organism that comprises Lara Fluxà’s participation in Venice. Catalonia presents the Collateral Event Catalonia in Venice_LLIM within the program of Biennale Arte 2022, an installation from the artist Lara Fluxà curated by Oriol Fontdevila. LLIM (silt) is an organism that employs water and glass to place Venice in its substratum, both past, and present.
LLIM is an organism that temporarily displaces water from the Canal di San Pietro using a tubular glass system. Water and glass, two idiosyncratic materials that have played a key role in the city’s history, become inseparable with this installation; two sides of the same landscape, both natural and cultural.
The ability of glass and water to reversibly mutate between states of matter keeps them open to collaboration and facilitates their coexistence. In this sense, LLIM is generated from a precise intuition of the vital flux: life’s possibility is thanks to matter’s viscosity and collaborative capacity.
Water and Glass
The glass was described by Georgius Agricola as a fusible stone at the same time as a solid juice. He was the first traveler to describe the industry in Venice, in the 16th century. For him, glass materialized as the manifestation of ambiguity. The same can be said of the city; it has been cradled throughout the centuries in a fragile balance between a solid-state and a liquid one. Venice emerges from the sediments supplied by the rivers that flow into the lagoon, although it is under perpetual threat of disappearing into the waters of the Adriatic.
Water has fertile power because it becomes silt when in contact with the earth. From the black mud of the Nile, the fertile land, comes the Arabic word khemia, alchemy, which has historically found a source of inspiration in the glass. Its practitioners used it for the transmutation of base metals. LLIM does not aspire, in any case, to the obtaining of gold nor of the quintessence: it moves the foundation of Venice with the same calm that it metabolizes and returns the materials to their origin.
LLIM discreetly adheres to the canals and the glass tubes, connecting them, and, through its circulation, progressively assimilates the layers that make up the place. Without being able to distinguish cause from effect, or interior from exterior, in Venice LLIM pronounces itself like a Klein bottle: it is a situated manifestation of the viscous behavior of matter.
LLIM consists of a group of glass cisterns, capsules, and tubes that create a landscape of organic shapes. Water permanently circulates in the installation, where it interacts with oil and milk as if it were a performance whose protagonists are the materials. The movement of the water will be dictated by the force of gravity, as well as being helped by the water pumps and valves controlled by PLC microprocessors.
In this way, a pump system installed on the banks of the Canale di San Pietro extracts water. This pump will continuously supply the building that houses the Catalan participation in the Venice Biennale with material from the canal bed. Inside, as it circulates, the water scatters remnants of mud. After a few minutes, the water returns to the flow of the Venice water network. Gradually, over the period of the Biennial, the installation will assimilate the subsoil of Venice, which will move as it passes through the tubes of this organism.