“My Secret Garden Valencia” presents a series of six public sculptures that will enter into dialogue with the powerful architecture of Santiago Calatrava. Each sculpture of the series addresses the rich diversity of forms, structures and colours found in the Plantea. With “My Secret Garden Valencia”, Arne Quinze calls for a more profound dialogue between nature and culture in the development of our modern society. By challenging his public with unconventional sculptures, he encourages a sociocultural conversation that stimulates creativity and embraces diversity.
Initiative and curation
Arne Quinze is honoured to be invited by president Cris Gabarrón and curator Juan García Sandoval of The Gabarron Foundation to exhibit his work in Valencia. The Gabarron Foundation and the City of Arts and Sciences of Valencia have been collaborating since 2010 to create this wonderful museum space, dedicated to sculptural art: the Umbracle, an open artistic space - designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava - and an extension of the museum itself, known by many as the Paseo del Arte. It was with deep respect that Quinze accepted their invitation and created six sculptures for this exhibition.
Arne Quinze explicitly wishes to thank
My Secret Garden
For the new series of Lupine artworks, nature was once again Arne Quinze’s main inspiration. These sculptures are distillations of nature that appear to have grown organically as a result of continuous attractive and repulsive impulses with the aim of preserving a balance, albeit delicate. At first sight they may perhaps appear fragile, but they are nevertheless capable of withstanding this harsh dialogue. Their colour palette is broad and inspired by the abundance of tints Quinze finds in his wild flower garden. This exposes the contrast between the diversity of nature and the encroaching monotony of our often grey cities. Through his works, Arne Quinze calls on the viewer to protect or at least appreciate what nature has to offer. The most successful cities of the future will in fact seamlessly interweave culture and nature. By locating his artworks in cities, Arne Quinze is attempting to initiate a dialogue on this vital balance. He is for this reason delighted that the city of Valencia has invited him to install his works at this marvellous location – a true open-air museum – and is looking forward to the interaction between the city and his new works.
In each of Arne Quinze’s recent works we encounter a seemingly chaotic confrontation between individual elements that form an integral part of a biotope that is created in laboratory conditions and is multiplied organically. The variety of colour and form is as wide as the viewer’s imagination. The artist hereby depicts a society as a coherent and intact ecosystem, a sampling of nature, which is his chief inspiration. In this way, the sculptures and installations call for a retention of diversity and pluralism, and for experiment and cross-fertilisation. This is a clear indictment of the present trend towards monocultures and soured relations.
Bringing people back together again: according to Quinze, this should be the ultimate objective of public art. After an initial surprising impression, a sculpture is able to refine the threshold of acceptance for the passer-by, by flying in the face of the norm – norms lead only to monotonous grey cities. Just as in the artworks, and just as in nature, cities should aim for a symbiosis of numerous organisms, which in their turn fuel conversation and consequently the conservation of their future.
In fact the artist quite literally challenges monocultures. With his garden as a scale model, an explosion of life with the rampant splendour of flowers, the pursuit of variation and diversity is both a statement and a leitmotiv that runs through his work. The fact that we have already destroyed 30% of existing flora and fauna since Quinze’s birth in 1971 is abhorrent to him. It is in everyone’s interest to protect and restore ecosystems.
Arne Quinze was born in Belgium in 1971 and currently lives and works in Sint-Martens-Latem, a town near the Belgian city of Ghent. His early career in the 1980s was as a graffiti artist, without having completed an official art education. He questioned the role of our cities and started his search for cities to become open air museums. His work evolved from Street Art to Public Art with recurring themes as social interaction, urbanisation and diversity. The gigantic wooden construction entitled Uchronia, which he and his team built in the Nevada desert (USA) for the 2006 Burning Man festival, emphasized his pursuit for culture and nature to coexist. This was followed by numerous sculptures and exhibitions that included both large installations and small paintings and sculptures. At the present time, many of his installations are considered to be landmarks that present a different dynamic for urban development: In Paris, Shanghai, Beirut, Washington DC, Brussels, Mumbai, Sao Paolo,… Quinze has been intervening in cities now for over 25 years, and many projects are still lined up to be finalised.
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