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Cork is art at the Venice Biennale

Cork is art at the Venice Biennale

Cork once again inspired and was chosen by artists attending the Biennale. Blog

Under the theme “Interesting Times,” the 2019 edition of the Venice Art Biennale presents projects from 91 countries including works by artist Leonor Antunes and the designer Nacho Carbonell who present a new look at cork.

A cork floor with drawings by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, marked by metal squares, welcomes visitors to the Giustinian Lolin Palace, which this year hosts Portugal’s official representation at the 58th Venice Biennale, that will run until 24 November, 2019.

The work is by Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes and forms part of the installation “a seam, a surface, a hinge, or a knot” that occupies two floors of that historic 17th century palace and features over 30 sculptures that blend with the space.

Also in the Biennial, as part of the Dysfunctional exhibition, Nacho Carbonell will present the "Inside a Forest Cloud" lamp, which establishes a creative and eloquent dialogue with the impressive Ca 'd'Oro - one of the Grand Canal’s most outstanding and popular palaces.

“In order to achieve this result, we have developed extensive experiences with cork, which we now understand better, as well as its potential which will help us to develop and design more works in the future.”

Nacho Carbonell

  • Cortiça nas artes

    This isn’t the first time that cork has been used in the arts world or in the Venice Biennale, which this year is curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London.


    In 2017, the designer Tiago Sá presented the Curcubita cork lamps in the section, Venice Design. Also in 2017, Leonor Antunes incorporated a flooring with a cork visual from Wicanders, a Corticeira Amorim brand, in the installation that she designed for the 57th Biennale. In 2013, Joana de Vasconcelos chose cork for transformation of the Lisbon ferry, “Trafaria Praia”, a project that marked Portugal's participation in the event.

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“Artists have worked with cork as a raw material in a very interesting manner, using various approaches. Captivated by cork’s characteristics as a natural, renewable and sustainable material, designers and architects use it to express their creativity, ranging from visual concepts that refer to nature such as "Inside a Forest Cloud" by Nacho Carbonell, or that sustain the result of artistic reflections as is the case of Leonor Antunes's work, "a seam, a surface, a hinge, or a knot". It is an honour to be able to collaborate in such relevant, high-profile initiatives.”

Cristina Amorim, Director of Corticeira Amorim

Leonor Antunes

Born in Lisbon in 1972, she has lived in Berlin since 2004. Leonor Antunes's design work is known for its affinity with modernism and its specific geometric patterns, as well as the shapes and structures that were particularly valued by architects and designers in the early 20th century. Her work is mathematical, with measures, scales and the beauty of the proportions that constitute her work, through which she establishes a dialogue with the spaces she occupies, either by the way her pieces echo the surrounding architecture or by the way that she uses symmetries as a tool to develop each new installation.

Nacho Carbonell

Born in Spain in 1980, Nacho Carbonell graduated in 2003 from Cardenal Herrera C.E.U. University in Spain before studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven. After graduating, Carbonell immediately began to make his name in the design world with his Evolution collection in 2009, for which he received a Design Beazley nomination from the Design Museum of London. In 2010, a year after being named Designer of the Future in Design Miami / Basel, he presented This Identity, which redefined his style of organic shapes and rough, colorful textures.

His works are exhibited in museums around the world, such as the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands, the 2121 Museum in Japan, the Fnac Fonds national d'art contemporain in France, MoMA San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Mint. museum in the United States. His works are also included in several private collections.


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