Lorenzo Quinn, This is Not a Game, Press Release

1 Jun 2011

This powerful and provocative installation by international sculptor Lorenzo Quinn is positioned across two different sites at the Biennale, the Italian Pavilion in the Arsenale, and San Servolo Island. The monumental sculpture and its complex journey from Russia to England to Spain and by boat to Venice to has been made possible by Lorenzo Quinn and Halcyon Gallery, London.

The first stage of the hard-hitting installation features a life-size T55 Russian battle tank and life-size cast ‘toy’ soldiers, situated on San Servolo Island. Life-like giant hands, poised in positioning the tank and soldiers, as a child would in play, are the catalyst which gives this piece the power, the drama and the context to which we as viewers are forced to respond. This jaw-dropping installation which has been meticulously planned and executed by Quinn, has an immediate effect on all who see it.

The second stage of the installation, exhibited at the Italian Pavilion, simulates a brick wall which has been blasted by gun fire from the tank’s pivotal gun turret, next to the simple, emphatically scrawled message, ‘THIS IS NOT A GAME’. Lorenzo Quinn has exhibited all over the world in the past twenty years; his works embellish many private collections. An artist of such stature and masterly skill was bound to challenge the city which epitomises art, with the arrival of his "war-game that isn't." Gently held by hands above the water, this work urges us not to forget the pain of the past and to think of the future. ... The work is demanding in the way it forces us to think. It brings a lump to the throat of anyone who yields, lingers, looks and feels… I did, and that's how it felt. That's why I am here; I am honoured to present someone whose art has succeeded in halting, just for a moment, the race against time: Lorenzo and his symbolic realism.

For sculptor Lorenzo Quinn, the realisation of this conceptual two part installation is a “...crazy dream come true.” Quinn was honoured to accept the invitation to exhibit in this year’s Venice Biennale. His artistic output is extensive. Commissioned by the United Nations and the Vatican early in his career, Quinn has received a series of major international public art commissions for cities around the world, including the gigantic, nine-metre Rise Through Education for ASPIRE, the Academy of Sports Excellence in Doha, commissioned by the state of Qatar.

For Quinn, sculpture is primarily an art of communication, a medium through which he aims to help people evolve further in tolerance, understanding and harmony.

I make art for myself and for people who wish to come along for a ride through my dreams. How we live our own lives is of the utmost importance, and most of my work is concerned with values and emotions. Lorenzo Quinn The Italian Pavilion (or Padiglione Italia) in the Arsenale, was overseen this year by curator Vittorio Sgarbi. It has been organised by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities together with PaBAAC, the General Direction for Landscape, Fine Arts, Architecture and Contemporary Art.

This year 89 Nations are participating in the 54th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale - a record for the festival. The National Pavilions are housed in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini; the Arsenale, and other locations around the city.