In our mission to document New Zealand artists' projects in Venice, we visited Déplacement (Smuggling Pod), 2017, a work by Melbourne-based artist Paul Handley. Déplacement is installed outdoors in Giardini Marinaressa, on Venice's main waterfront, as part of the international exhibition Open Borders, organised by Personal Structures and running from May to November this year.
As a result of the time he has spent in Europe and more particularly in Greece, Handley has become increasingly concerned with issues surrounding the political climate and refugee situation in Europe. Wanting to bring greater attention to the scale of the issue and the perilous journey undertaken by thousands of people, Handley has created a work made from 30 children's life jackets installed in a circle.
Upon hearing about the accumulation of dumped life jackets on the beaches of Lesvos, Handley decided to investigate it for himself and travelled to the island in search of the reject piles he had seen in the media. This investigation initially inspired a series of photographs before plans were drawn up for a sculptural piece.
Our full interview with Paul Handley will be published in coming weeks.
All images: Contemporary HUM