Venetians is an installation by Polish artist Paweł Althamer that features numerous sculptures of skeletal figures meant to represent the souls of Venetians for the 55th Venice Biennale. Collaborating with his father’s plastics manufacturing company (Almech), the sculptor went about taking casts of faces and hands of the locals in Venice to add a deeper sense of realism to the intriguing piece.

After creating molds of real Venetian faces and hands, Althamer proceeded to attach them to disfigured and fragmented bodies that altogether makes them appear like the rising dead. The zombie-like, gaunt bodies add a curious element to the otherwise ordinary depiction of a crowded space in Venice. Althamer’s chosen depiction is an interpretive representation of the physical human form and its purpose. The artist says, “It is a major achievement to realize that the body is only a vehicle for the soul.”

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