The sculptures consist of around a dozen stone monoliths that are life-size replicas of the posts, over three metres high made of oak or chestnut wood, that emerge above the water in the Venice lagoon. These dolphins are locally known as ‘bricole’, and act as signposts for the vessels in the lagoon. The replicas created by Viale imitate the wood so realistically that one could easily believe that they are casts.
The current display resembles that of Venice, with the addition of a topical element that has regrettably transformed the virtual into real. In the Pavilion in the Gardens the original seascape – namely that of the Venetian canals and lagoon characterised by the bricole – was evoked through a multisensory installation that immersed visitors in a realistic environment, where the floor was covered with a carpet of low water and the fog effect produced by sheets of slightly opaque plastic separating the observers from the stone posts.
The marble detritus was collected from the so-called ravaneti, the slopes down which the waste from the marble quarrying activity is dumped. This consists of useless chippings and rubble produced by the cutting of the stone, which then shatters as it careers downhill, creating what look like authentic waterfalls of marble and, seen from the sea, resemble ancient glaciers that have somehow survived the rising temperatures.