Artist Fabrizio Plessi Teamed Up With Dior to Create a Hope-Inspiring Digital Installation in Venice’s City Center

A series of golden waterfalls will line the windows of the Museo Correr this fall, illuminating the Piazza San Marco at dusk.

Fabrizio Plessi's installation lights up the Piazza San Marco. Photo courtesy Dior.

Dior has teamed up with Italian artist Fabrizio Plessi to celebrate Venice’s rich cultural history as the city slowly reawakens after months of lockdown. 

Across from the Basilica in Venice’s Piazza San Marco, Plessi has installed a series of golden digital waterfalls between the windows of the Museo Correr. The exhibition, which runs through November 2, was conceived to bring to life the message held in the clutches of the square’s famous bronze lion sculpture—one of the most prized statues in the world and a symbol of Venice—that reads pax tibi or “peace upon thee.”

The words appear in Plessi’s waterfall itself, which plays on endless loop while a soundtrack by the British composer Michael Nyman—a past collaborator of Plessi’s—features in the background.  

Photo courtesy Dior.

Photo courtesy Dior.

Titled The Golden Age, the piece is a prelude to the major retrospective of the artist’s work that will open later this fall at the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’Pasero.

“In the midst of a very dark moment, I wanted to create a strong positive message, a message that everyone can understand,” Plessi told Artnet News. “I’d already started the project before the coronavirus took hold, but being locked down at home for many months inspired me to update its message and to make it more universal.”

A closeup of the digital waterfall. Photo courtesy Dior.

A closeup of the digital gold, created by Plessi. Photo courtesy Dior.

Plessi, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, says that planning the show from home was the most challenging part of the project. At 190 feet long and 16 feet wide, it was a huge undertaking made all the more difficult by not having regular access to the space in which it was to be installed.

“Each window’s waterfall is totally different from the others and so bright and I think that’s the reason why, at dusk, the entire square looks like it’s illuminated in gold,” Plessi says. “It directly relates to the golden mosaic in the Basilica—I was inspired by the idea of it melting and spilling out onto the street.” 

Photo courtesy Dior.

Photo courtesy Dior.

Plessi was also encouraged by what the exhibition could mean for the world beyond Venice. “I wanted to give this message of total light and hope to everybody,” he says. “Gold, to me, symbolizes not richness and luxury, but a timeless, durable material that has proven to last. Creating this was not only about making a spectacular technological installation, but moral work. And Dior was attracted to that. We wanted to bring that to the public.”

“Doing this has affirmed for me the value of public art,” says Plessi. “It is, in my view, the most important thing.” 

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