A Massive Sculpture of Hands Is Gripping the Attention of Crowds in Venice

“Building Bridges” is a follow-up to Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn’s 2017 “Support” sculpture in Venice.

A Massive Sculpture of Hands Is Gripping the Attention of Crowds in Venice

Lorenzo Quinn’s “Building Bridges” sculpture will be on display adjacent to the 58th Venice Biennale.

Photo by Halcyon Art International

After his sculpture of a gigantic pair of hands reaching out of Venice’s Grand Canal went viral in 2017, Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn is back with another large-scale hand sculpture.

On Friday, May 10, Quinn unveiled Building Bridges, an installation consisting of six pairs of hands arching 50 feet over a waterway at the Arsenale former shipyard in Venice’s eastern Castello District. Made from white resin to mimic the white marble seen around Venice, the hands symbolize the need to build bridges and overcome differences.


Each set of hands represents a different human value like love or wisdom.

Photo by Halcyon Art International

“Humanity has never grown by creating barriers. It always grows when it opens up its borders and it welcomes new cultures,” Quinn told the Associated Press. “Venice is a testament to that. Venice opened routes to Asia, the Far East, with Marco Polo and the merchants of Venice. It has been a driving force of European growth always.”

Each pair is clasped in a different way to highlight six values, including friendship, hope, love, help, faith, and wisdom. The new sculptures were unveiled at a ceremony last week with a performance by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.

Like Support—Quinn’s 2017 Venetian installation that drew attention to the rising sea levels that threaten to destroy the city’s historical architecture—Building Bridges is appearing adjacent to the 58th Venice Biennale, an international contemporary art fair that runs between May 11 and November 24, 2019.


Quinn’s sculpture “Support” remained up six months after the close of the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Photo by Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

Even though Support wasn’t officially part of the 2017 Biennale, it was so popular that it remained in place for six months after the event closed. It is set to be permanently installed on the Venetian island of San Servolo, across the lagoon from the Biennale’s Giardini, the area of parklands in the eastern part of the city where the pavilions of the art fair are centered today. While he won’t say which ones, Quinn says that several cities have already started the bidding process to win Building Bridges once its run in Venice is done, according to the AP.

To see Building Bridges at the Arsenale, you can take the ACTV Linea 5.1 and 4.1 water taxis to the Bacini or Arsenale stop from Piazzale Roma or the Alilaguna Blue Line to the Bacini stop from Marco Polo Airport. Find more information at lorenzoquinnbuildingbridges.com.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Venice

Lyndsey Matthews is the Senior Commerce Editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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