Emitting a constant, nefarious hum, Denny’s glass boxes are positioned alongside the library’s extraordinary collection of Renaissance-era maps and globes, underwritten by the then-Venice elite, who sought to consolidate their authority through information about the world’s borders mapped out by adventurers like Marco Polo. Their division of territories is practically unrecognizable to a contemporary eye. Both maps and vitrines (and the vaunted, stately architecture of the library itself) demand the reverence that comes with knowledge and power, and yet at their core, Denny suggests, are abstractions and fantasy.
The contents of the artist’s vitrines center on one David Darchicourt, the agency’s former designer and creative director, who Denny discovered on the professional resume-building site LinkedIn. (That this title exists in an organization mandated to pursue facts may, in itself, warrant a few raised eyebrows.) Upon entering the main room at the Marciana library, visitors are faced with a pair of swinging transparent doors, which recall those at some generic government security checkpoint, through which the flags of the “Five Eyes” are visible. The exhibition’s introductory text, superimposed on the clear doors and thus barely discernible, establishes the slippery visual vocabulary that Denny invokes throughout.