The 'Venetians' Installation Places Real Faces on Undead Bodies

By: Alexander Lam - Published: Jun 6, 2013 • References: labiennale.org and mymodernmet
Using casts of the faces and limbs of real people, artist Pawel Althamer created a series of disturbing sculptures called 'Venetians.' The skeletal sculptures were made to symbolize lost Venetians. Each grey sculpture has a disfigured body with skin and organs ripped away. Combined with realistic body parts and faces, the installation creates a chilling effect.

Althamer positioned his sculptures to look as if the pieces were alive. Each skeletal human is seen frozen in time engaging in everyday activities. The artist wanted to strip away the body in order to reveal each Venetian's soul. According to Althamer, "the body is only a vehicle for the soul."

The surreal sculptures were made mostly from plastic. Working with plastic manufacturer Almech, Althamer created plastic casts of locals.