the peggy guggenheim collection presents belgian artist wim delvoye’s latest creation, ‘torre’: a corten steel tower, with ogival windows, tracery and turrets in the international gothic style, on the terrace of palazzo venier dei leoni, overlooking the grand canal in venice. the tower will be on show until november 22, 2009.

wim delvoye: a gothic tower in venice during art biennale 09

both architecture and ornament, ‘torre’ by wim delvoye demonstrates not only ethereal majesty and vision but forceful material presence, drawing inspiration from masterpieces of gothic architecture such as notre dame, paris, and the cathedral of saint john the divine, new york. from a fusion of the sublime with the most advanced capabilities of computer technology, the gothic style of ‘torre’ unites it with the romantic paintings of caspar david friedrich and karl friedrich schinkel.

wim delvoye’s artistic practice draws on the notion of the attraction of binary opposites: the sacred and the profane, the past and the present, the triumph of ornamentation over functionality. his art thrives on such paradoxes, that also form the basis of surrealist artistic practice, combining these components of difference, not always manifest but ever present in his aesthetic. the placement of a gothic tower from the high middles ages in the vicinity of palazzo venier dei leoni’s 18th century classicism creates just such a forceful and provocative paradox. for wim delvoye: “while the renaissance was a world view, the gothic was a state of mind. the renaissance was a finite epoch lasting half a century before being succeeded by mannerism. gothic was an art outside of time. the human eye takes in detail like a stroboscope; glancing over lights and tracery, crockets and finials, it thrills to the joy of the tower’s soaring ascent.”