VENICE.- Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, with the support of Michael Werner Gallery, announce the presentation of James Lee Byarss The Golden Tower in the Campo San Vio, Venice, on the edge of the Grand Canal. This presentation is a Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, curated by Christine Macel on view from 13 May 26 November 2017.
Byars envisioned The Golden Tower as a colossal beacon and oracle that would bridge heaven and earth and unify humanity a contemporary monument surpassing the grandeur of the Lighthouse of Alexandria. The idea of The Golden Tower first began in 1976 and was developed with numerous conceptual studies throughout the artists career. The work was first exhibited in 1990 at the GegenwartEwigkeit exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, and later in 2004 at the posthumous retrospective Life, Love and Death at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. Towering to a height of over 20 meters, The Golden Tower is the artists largest and most ambitious work. The Venice installation of The Golden Tower is the first to fully realize the artists intentions of presenting the sculpture in a public space.
The Tower gives shape to a symbol of ascension, taking metaphorical aim towards the sacred mountain a gilded machine to honor the gods, says curator Alberto Salvadori of the work. The splendor of gold hints at the symbol of the sun but also becomes a symbol of inner illumination, of intellectual knowledge and spiritual experience. A concept of divinity. That's the deeper motivation in James Lee Byarss use of gold
it is the ultimate symbol of greatness and the infinite.
Located in the Dorsoduro, between the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Golden Tower is visible throughout many areas of the city. The towers brilliant gilded surface echoes the golden mosaic façade of the adjacent Palazzo Barbarigo. Its placement in Campo San Vio recalls Canalettos famous view of the Grand Canal, painted from that same spot.
James Lee conceived of The Golden Tower as a monument to humanity, says Wendy Dunaway, the artists widow. Venice was both his home and a metaphor for East meeting West. I cant imagine a more fitting tribute in these times.
The presentation of The Golden Tower in Venice, is also significant given Byarss deep connections to the city. Byars lived off and on in Venice beginning in 1982. He worked closely with the master glass-blowers of Murano to realize his major 1989 sculpture, The Angel. Throughout his career Byars enacted numerous performances in Venice, including The Holy Ghost, Piazza San Marco, 1975; The New Pink Flag of Italy, also Piazza San Marco, 1980; and The Death of James Lee Byars, Punta della Dogana, 1993. Byars participated in four previous editions of the Biennale Arte, performing Be Quiet at the opening of the 39th International Art Exhibition and The Poet of the Gondola in the 1986 edition. Harald Szeemann included the sculpture The Spinning Oracle of Delphi in 1999 and three gilded marble sculptures were included in the Biennale Arte 2013.