ron arad: last train at venice art biennale 2013
ron arad: last train at venice art biennale 2013 ron arad: last train at venice art biennale 2013
may 30, 2013

ron arad: last train at venice art biennale 2013

‘last train’ by ron arad at the 2013 venice art biennale



to be seen as a theatrical piece of digital puppetry, ‘last train’ by ron arad is based on an image which the israeli-born designer has ingrained in his head. during a trip to naples, arad had arrived at the station platform to catch his train out of the city at which time he saw a man in the departing locomotive–completely absorbed in his own self-reflection–etching drawings into the glass window of his compartment. perhaps the images and words he was engraving spoke of the trying times and difficulties our society is currently facing; or maybe the man was longing for the past and trying to express his personal struggle in order to regain some sense of power through creative means.



image © designboom


arad has taken this memory to respond to steinmetz‘s commission to create a piece of art which incorporated diamonds. rather than focusing on the luxury and value associated with the precious rocks, he instead has emphasized the strength of the material. looking back in history, arad recalled elizabeth I who used to scratch love vows  on bottles and jars with her ‘promise ring’ or scribbling ring’ and robert burns scratched poems on glass panels, and then there are the many thousands of train travellers who have etched messages and drawings into windows expressing their anger, their love and their dissent.




images taken from movie by ron arad, collage © designboom



presented at the 2013 venice art biennale at the palazzo cavalli franchetti, san marco, ‘last train’ is an interactive work in which the london-based creative has designed a steinmetz diamond ring which features the precious stones in an ‘X’ formation. a cast of arad’s fist wearing the hand jewelry pokes through a black cloth and is set in front of a piece of glass. arad invited a number of artists including francesco clemente, leandro erlich, sara fanellie, anthony gormley, christian marclay, tim noble, cornelia parker,  david shrigley, gavin turk, sue webster, richard wilson, robert wilson to create a work on an iPad with a stylus using the ‘last train’ app.

in return the ring has scratched their illustration onto the glass, echoing their every stroke and illuminating their markings. on the may 29th opening, ron arad and javier mariscal engaged in a live drawing performance, while ai weiwei scratched in remotely from beijing. after the 55th international art exhibition, ‘last train’ will continue as a series of collaborations, highlighting the synergy between art and diamonds.



ron arad’s ring design for steinmetz



installation which features a cast of ron arad’s fist wearing the ring




last train by ron aradvideo courtesy of ron arad studio



‘one day this glass will break’ by cornelia parker



the machine working with the mechanism still exposed



‘for ron arad’ by francesco clemente



ron arad with christian marclay drawing out ‘record’



‘record’ by christian marclay



‘portrait of my blind husband’ by tim noble and sue webster



‘portrait of my blind wife’ by tim noble and sue webster



left: ‘portrait of my blind husband’ by tim noble and sue websterright: ‘portrait of my blind wife’ by tim noble and sue webster



‘field’ by antony gormley



‘field’ by antony gormley



‘time to reflect’ by david shrigley



detail of ‘time to reflect’



detail of ‘time to reflect’



ron arad with ‘window’ by leandro erlich



‘a hymn hymning him a drawing for ron a.’ by robert wilson



‘a hymn hymning him a drawing for ron a.’ by robert wilson



‘black mirror’ by gavin turk



ron arad on his ‘last train’ project

video courtesy of glasstress



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