About the Commission: Lara Almarcegui's Project in Murano

Spanish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
May 24, 2013 12:04PM

Under the curatorial guidance of Octavio Zaya, Almarcegui will bring two related projects to the Italian exhibition that continue in the same line as her previous works. One tackles the physical space of the Spanish Pavilion in the Giardini, while the other explores an empty plot of land beside the island of Murano.

In Murano Almarcegui has devised A Guide to Sacca San Mattia, the Abandoned Island of Murano, Venice, a research project that focuses on the Sacca San Mattia, an artificial island formed by the waste deposits of Murano’s glassmaking industry. The project is actually a study of an empty plot on that island, how it was formed, the site’s current geological and environmental conditions, the projects that have been planned for this plot and the reasons why none have come to fruition.

In connection with this project, Almarcegui reveals that “my preliminary research consisted in talking to Venetian city planners and architects who told me about their future plans, which allowed me to locate the wastelands and empty plots that would be affected by those transformations. I visited those areas in order to choose the one I thought was most significant.” She adds, “The Sacca San Mattia seemed like the most suitable wasteland in the area of Venice because of its odd, complex configuration: a piece of land formed by layers of waste produced by the glass and construction industries.” Indeed, the Sacca is an abandoned tip created between 1930 and 1950 by the repeated dumping of rubble and dredging of the lagoon. This undeveloped plot with a surface area of 26 hectares is the largest piece of available empty land in Venice, which has made it the subject of countless speculation initiatives, such as the controversial idea of digging a railway tunnel under the lagoon to link the city with its airport, with a station located in this area.

Images: A Guide to Sacca San Mattia, the Abandoned Island of Murano, Venice, May 2013, ©Lara Almarcegui.

Spanish Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale