Venice Architecture Biennale — 2018

In the cool of the pines of Giardino della Marinareassa, where the ships built in the adjacent Arsenale once set sail for the Mediterranean and the world beyond, Zealandia stands with arms extended skyward, a personification of 'free space' – the overarching theme of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Standing 2.3m tall, the perfectly proportioned X-figure is graceful and powerful, combining geometric abstraction with classical statuary.  The richly grained stone creates a marbled effect reminiscent of drapery in classical sculpture, especially of the Italian baroque. Silvery veins snake up the figure like muscles or skin, both primitive and futuristic, and chameleon-like, changing to match the Venetian skies. The sculpture’s elegant X form re-writes the ‘perfect proportions’ of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (circa 1510), a Renaissance ideal underpinning Western architecture and design, and immortalised on the one Euro coin. Amid global movements for gender equity and inclusion for all, Zealandia's proportions deploy new ratios based on the shapes of women from all Continents across the globe. Replicated in shadow on the ground, the X-figure duplicates as XX - the female genetic code. Like a modern Victory of Samothrace, Zealandia looks out to sea, a Goddess messenger for a new age.