Building Bridges

Lorenzo Quinn brings monumental sculpture to Venice Biennale with a message of world unity and peace


Internationally renowned contemporary Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn will unveil his monumental Building Bridges sculpture in Venice this May. One of the most popular sculptors of our times, Quinn’s public art has been seen around the world depicting themes of love and human connection through his expressive recreation of figurative forms and human hands.

Building Bridges, the pinnacle of Quinn’s artistic expression to date, will be installed in the basin of the Arsenale in the Castello District of Venice. Composed of six pairs of monumental hands, 15 metres high and 20 metres wide, the spectacular sculpture speaks to humanity’s commonality, with an emphasis of bridging differences in all aspects of life – geographically, philosophically, culturally and emotionally.

Lorenzo Quinn said: “Venice is a World Heritage City and it is the city of bridges. It is the perfect location to spread a message of world unity and peace so that more of us around the world build bridges with others rather than walls and barriers.”Born in Rome, Quinn spent his childhood divided between the limelight of his father’s film career in the United States of America, and Italy where he first fell in love with painting and architecture. After studying at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York he quickly turned to sculpture and the mastery of hands as the medium of his energy and originality. Quinn now resides in Spain with his wife and three sons where he works from his foundry in Barcelona. There he hand-makes everything from intimate, delicate pieces to monumental public art sculptures seen around the world in Doha, Shanghai, St Petersburg, New York, Singapore, Monaco, Barcelona, India, Rome and London.

The leading figurative sculptor whose work is inspired by such masters as Michelangelo, Bernini and Rodin will exhibit in London at the Halcyon Gallery from 29 April to 30 June. The Halcyon Gallery has represented Quinn’s work for the past twenty years. With three galleries in London, Halcyon specialises in modern and contemporary art, and works closely with emerging and established international artists to produce world-class art exhibitions that translate to a global audience.

Director of Halcyon Gallery Ehud (Udi) Sheleg said: “Lorenzo has become one of contemporary art’s most compelling creators. We are proud to support him in fulfilling his dreams by turning his ideas into reality.”

President of Halcyon Gallery Paul Green said: “Lorenzo Quinn has always spoken a universal language, wherever in the world his artwork is placed it creates an immediate impact, whether it be in Mumbai, Venice, New York or Shanghai. Building Bridges is his most ambitious project to date both in scale and thought, and will send a unifying message of hope around the world.” 

The official unveiling of Building Bridges will take place in Venice on the evening of 9 May 2019 with the extraordinary participation of Andrea Bocelli, a musical performance by pianist Lola Astanova, and the presence of the Mayor of Venice, dignitaries and the general public.

Possibilità, Quin’s one-man exhibition at the Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street, London, is open to public 29 April – 30 June. For more information see www.halcyongallery.com.

Building Bridges is open to the public in Venice’s Arsenale from May 10. For more information see www.lorenzoquinnbuildingbridges.com.

“Each pair of the sculpture’s hands celebrate one of six universal human values: Friendship, to build on the future together; Wisdom, to make mutually beneficial decisions; Help, to cement lasting relationships; Faith, to trust in your heart and self-worth; Hope, to persevere in worthwhile endeavours; and Love, the fundamental purpose for it all.”

Quinn – the son of Oscar-winning actor Anthony Quinn - is no stranger to Venice. His Support sculpture of colossal hands reaching out of the Grand Canal was 2017’s most photographed piece of art. Support drew global attention to the delicate existence of humans wherein human hands are the very tools that can both destroy the world and have the capacity to save it from the looming threat of climate change.

An exhibition showcasing a selection of Lorenzo Quinn’s iconic sculptures will also be open near Building Bridges from 11 May at Hanger 99, Arsenale, North Venice.

For press enquiries, please contact Maryann Wright at BLJ London on maryannw@blj.co.uk or +44 7703 714 717.


Born on 7 May 1966 in Rome to the famous Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn and his second wife, costume designer Iolanda Addolori, Lorenzo Quinn had a childhood split between Italy and the United States of America. His father – an Oscar-winning actor - had a profound influence on him, both in terms of living in the limelight of the film world and with respect to Anthony’s early work in painting and architecture.

Lorenzo Quinn studied at the American Academy of Fine Arts in New York, planning to be a Surrealist painter. However, at 21 he decided that his future lay in sculpture, which could better accommodate his energy and originality. He vividly recalls the moment in 1989 when he felt that he had created his first genuine work of art: ‘I had made a torso from Michelangelo’s drawing of Adam … an artisan’s job…. I had an idea and began chiselling away, and Eve came out of Adam’s body…. It had started as a purely academic exercise, yet it had become an artwork.’

In 1988 Quinn married Giovanna Cicutto, and on the birth of the first of their three sons they decided to leave New York – a place that ‘hardens your human values’ – and settle in Spain. ‘We chose Spain for its Latin character, its fervour ... the way it values people and family, and for its great artistic trajectory’, he comments. Quinn now lives in Barcelona where he works from his artist foundry.

In his twenties Quinn had a brief acting career, including playing alongside his father in Stradivari (1989) and an acclaimed performance as Salvador Dalí. However, he did not enjoy working in the profession and decided to concentrate purely on sculpture.

Quinn is best known for expressive recreations of human hands. Quinn says, ‘I wanted to sculpt what is considered the hardest and most technically challenging part of the human body. The hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy.’

Quinn’s creative ideas spark quickly into life: ‘The inspiration comes within a millisecond’, he says, as he is driven to sculpt by observing life’s everyday energy. Yet a finished project takes months to realise, and it has to carry clear meaning. Quinn usually conceives each work in writing, and the poetic text is ultimately displayed with the sculpture, as an integral part of the piece, not merely explanation.

Venice is a place close to Quinn’s heart. The birthplace of his mother and wife, Venice is a city to which Quinn feels deep connection, love and gratitude. He is thrilled to exhibit his third monumental sculpture during the Venice Biennale.

More information at www.lorenzoquinn.com.

Friday, May 10, 2019 to Sunday, November 24, 2019
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Paid admission