The Venice Art Biennale is in full swing at the moment, but beyond the main sites of the Giardini and the Arsenale there’s a wealth of other exhibitions to explore around the city.  One such show is “Dysfunctional” at Ca’ D’Oro – one of Venice’s most beautiful and iconic palaces – which is currently showcasing a superb display of over 50 site-specific design and artworks by 23 international artists seeking to break the boundaries between art, design and architecture.

Throughout the show contemporary artworks form dialogues with the palace’s permanent collection of Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, such as Fragile Future III by Studio Drift – an ethereal installation made from fragile dandelion seeds and LEDS that form a frame of light around Andrea Mantegna’s 1506 painting of Saint Sebastian.

Elsewhere, artworks relate specifically to the building itself, such as Nacho Carbonell’s Under a Light Tree – a series of organically inspired cast steel seats that fuse into branches before erupting into glowing wire “foliage”, referencing the gilt and polychrome decorations of the palace’s 15th century courtyard.  Similarly, the patina of Ingrid Donat’s Klimt Cabinet refers to the palazzo’s once-gilded facade, while its openwork front was inspired by the patterns of Venetian stained-glass windows and Burano lace.

Meanwhile, other works raise wider issues pertinent to the city of Venice, such as Virgil Abloh’s Acqua Alta installation, which invites us to think about rising sea levels, the fate of Venice and our planet – and Studio Haygarth’s Tide Colour, a chandelier made not of Murano glass, but of plastic objects found washed up on the coast.

Displayed across all three storeys of the palace, the exhibition itinerary is designed to create a sense of wonder and discovery, celebrating the venue’s rich history whilst also prompting visitors to question the conventional relationship between form and function, art and design, the historical and the modern.

  “Dysfunctional” is on view at the Ca’ D’Oro until 24th November 2019.