“Second Act”
An Installation by Maarten Baas,
in collaboration with Theun Mosk

May, 20th – November, 21st al 21 novembre 2021
Location: @Fondaco dei Tedeschi – Venezia, Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi (Ponte di Rialto)
Openings: 10 AM – 06.30 PM; free entry

Venice, May 2021 – From 20th May to 21st November, Fondaco dei Tedeschi presents « Second Act », a site-specific installation by Maarten Baas which permeates the entire Fondaco site, from the fourth floor to the courtyard and the water gate.

Maarten Baas’s works are a reflection of the time in which we live. Over the years the artist and designer has created several awardwinning installations at events such as the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Art Basel / Miami, and international exhibitions such as the Venice Art Biennale. His revolutionary collection of burnt furniture, Smoke, was presented in New York in the wake of 9/11, while his famous Real Time Series was launched after the 2008 financial crisis. « It was, and still is, a time of uncertainty and fear.

People don’t know how to react, what to expect and how we will have to deal with the new reality” – according to the artist Maarten Baas – “It is difficult to make a statement about the times we are living through when we are unable to see beyond a week ahead. That is why I wanted to compare time to suspense in the theatre: what will we see when the curtain rises? The curtain allows us to evoke the unknown world hidden behind it. I am grateful to Fondaco dei Tedeschi for giving me this opportunity to exhibit in Venice at such an important time, and in the hope of a global recovery ».

As part of his installation entitled « Second Act », conceived along with scenographer Theun Mosk, the Dutch artist has chosen to hang four long theatre curtains in the inner courtyard of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. They conceal a performance whose plot is unknown. The visitor thus becomes a spectator, a participant in an experience with an uncertain denouement, not unlike the one experienced during this period of pandemic: « What will we see when the curtain rises? ».

The world of theatre, which has a particular resonance in Venice, provides the inspiration behind the installation Baas and Mosk have designed for the waterfront of the Fondaco. It consists of twenty screens arranged at a 45-degree angle. Each screen displays the titles of all the works cancelled or postponed around the world during the period when the theatres were closed. « These cancelled works, like raindrops falling from the sky, give an idea of the amount of everything that failed to take place during the year, » Baas explains.

The Pavilion on the fourth floor of the Fondaco houses Sweepers, part of the famous Real-Time Clocks series. For the first time they are presented in the form of mantel clocks often found in homes on shelves or tables. Two men can be seen sweeping the dial inside the clock, indicating the passing of  the minutes in real time: « Dust is always present as a symbol of the passing of time”, says Baas.
“Whatever may happen, the only thing to do is carry on.”