Arne Quinze Presents ‘Are We The Aliens_’ in Venice

Making of 'Impact Glass' at Berengo Studio, 2024. Courtesy of Dave Bruel

Coinciding with the 60th edition of La Biennale di Venezia, Belgian contemporary artist Arne Quinze and globally acclaimed American music producer Swizz Beatz will present an immersive exhibition fusing Quinze’s large-scale site-specific sculptures, saturated within an ethereal acoustic environment and soundscapes by Swizz Beatz.

Renderings of ‘Impact Glass’ for ‘Are We The Aliens_’ by Arne Quinze, 2024. Renders by Dave Bruel. Courtesy of Arne Quinze Studio. 

On view from April 20th – November 24th, 2024, ‘Are We The Aliens_’ marks the first-ever contemporary show to debut in the historic 16th century church, San Francesco della Vigna, completed by the influential Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in Campo San Francesco, Castello, Venice. The exhibition will debut Quinze’s first-ever large-scale sculptures in glass and ceramic made in collaboration with master craftsmen Berengo Studio and Atelier Vierkant.


Co-curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, independent art consultant and advisor of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and Reiner Opoku, art consultant and agent, with support from the Ludwig Museum, Germany, ‘Are We The Aliens_’ is an immersive experience of our planet’s hidden aesthetics, poised as an intersensory transformative encounter where diverse artistic mediums converge. The title of the exhibition encourages thoughtful contemplation about society’s growing detachment from nature, while the underscore (_) symbol, typically used as an interrogative mark in code and technology, prompts viewers to unravel and decode the narrative of our connection with nature.

Paper Model of ‘Sonic Levitation’ for ‘Are We The Aliens_’ by Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz, 2024.
Photography by Dave Bruel. Courtesy of Arne Quinze Studio. 

Encompassing the 16th century church’s nave, cloister, and the 300m2 Scoletta’s (private religious study) ground and first floor, with a vast space featuring a 12-meter-high ceiling, the exhibition’s multiple parts highlight diverse visual experiences. Central to this artistic dialogue is the installation ‘Sonic Levitation,’ encompassing the first floor of the Scoletta, and resonating a seamless integration of Quinze’s visual and Swizz Beatz’s auditory expertise.

Set in an entirely white space, Quinze’s aluminum sculpture forms a circle, a symbol of perfect harmony, with four distinct parts, nine meters in width. With an explicit tactile approach to the material, Quinze captures the essence of nature’s unrestrained beauty, while Swizz Beatz’s fusion of digital and instrumental soundscape echoes through the space, emanating nature’s interplay between fragility and power. The sculpture, sonic soundscape creation, and light scenography form a distinctive sensory experience, offering a poignant and thought-provoking engagement with the beauty and awe of the natural world, signifying nature’s perfect harmony.


For ‘Sonic Levitation’ Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz partner with iconic electronics company Bang & Olufsen, leveraging their world-renowned expertise in sound design through a tailor-made setup, featuring the exclusive BEOLAB 90 state-of-the-art audio system.

Swizz Beatz explains: “The process of marrying sound to art is a special one. Creating this sonic experience with Arne Quinze, every second is important, every sound has meaning, the combination takes you on a journey of expression. This will be a Sonic installation for the world to enjoy.”

Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz portrait in front of the Paper Model of ‘Sonic Levitation’ for ‘Are We The Aliens_’ by Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz, 2024. Photography by Dave Bruel. Courtesy of Arne Quinze Studio. 

As a harmonious juxtaposition to the atmosphere of ‘Sonic Levitation’, the ground floor of the monks’ private study hosts Quinze’s ‘Impact Glass’ installation. Diverse organic-looking formations emerge from an all-white space, carrying fifteen individual glass sculptures. The pieces, handcrafted by internationally renowned glass manufacturer Berengo Studio in Murano, Italy, range from 40 to 120 centimeters (15 – 47 inches) in height, and are coated with hues of red, yellow and green, emanating nature’s many vibrant shades. The installation serves as a metaphor for humans landing on Earth in the form of alien DNA, disrupting nature’s equilibrium. A video piece titled ‘SIX Testimonials’ further contemplates humanity’s state of alienation as otherworldly beings foreign to the earth. Showcased on two large screens, the videos feature six distinct humanoid AI characters, engulfing the room in their extraterrestrial declarations.


The church’s cloister voluted colonnade holds a group of large-scale site-specific ceramic sculptures titled ‘Ceramorphia’ evoking nature’s intricate patterns with fungi-like and rough textures, stemming from Quinze’s decade-long study of his wildflower garden. Ranging from 1,20 – 4 meters (47 – 157 inches) the pieces are crafted in collaboration with the Belgian studio Atelier Vierkant, narrating a story of nature’s extraordinary aesthetic diversity reclaiming its space in urban landscapes. With a wealth of meteorite stones at his disposal in the GRANADA Collection, meteoritics’ researcher and collector Jochen Leën significantly contributes to the investigation in ‘Are We The Aliens_,’ providing invaluable insights and expertise in the origins and implications of extraterrestrial materials found on Earth.

Shining a light on new facets of celestial phenomena, Quinze and Leën deepen our understanding of their impact on our planet. Extending the conversation within the 16th century church, Quinze unveils ‘Bronze’ in front of the altar niche, a two meters wide horizontal bronze sculpture directly mirroring nature’s cycles and the divine harmony of nearby 15th century painting ‘Madonna and Child’, by the artist of the Quattrocento Antonio Falier da Negroponte.

Quinze explains: “My ultimate goal is to reawaken our sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world. In my journey through a wildflower-filled microcosm, ‘Ceramorphia’ reflects a decade of observing nature’s transformative architecture. The work aspires to set out a blueprint to reshape cities into open-air museums, harmonizing again with nature, with the ultimate aim of reawakening our sense of awe and appreciation for the natural world.”


Following two decades of presentations in museums and institutions such as Frieze Sculpture and Saatchi Gallery, London; Kunsthal Rotterdam; MAMAC Museum, Nice; the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art; Art D’Egypte, ‘Are We The Aliens_’ marks a new chapter in Quinze’s artistic practice. Over the last twenty years, his observations of urbanization’s detrimental effects on human life have fostered his artistic commitment to convert urban spaces into open-air museums with monumental artworks that reawaken our sense of awe and respect for nature. This upcoming exhibition transforms the historic church into an ethereal eloge of nature’s beauty in contrast with the alienated state of humanity towards their habitat. The sonic installation by Swizz Beatz complements Quinze’s sculptural exploration with experimental soundscapes, enhancing the exhibition’s immersive effect.

 In parallel with the theme of the Biennale di Venezia 2024, ‘Foreigners Everywhere’, ‘Are We The Aliens_’ is an invitation to contemplate our humanity and the growing alienation of our habitat, by proposing unconventional perspectives of self-perception, forging new bonds with our external environment.

On View
April 20 – November 24, 2024

Press Preview + Artist Talk

April 18, 10:30 A.M.

Opening Hours
Opening Weekend
April 19 – 21: 10 A.M. – 8 P.M.
April 22: 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.

April 23 – November 24
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.
Closed on Mondays

Chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna, Venice
Calle S. Francesco, 2786, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy (12 minutes from Piazza San Marco)


Arne Quinze is a Belgian contemporary artist, painter, and sculptor. Building on his artistic journey from street art to paintings and public installations, Quinze explores the intricate relationship of human interaction and urban complexity, in correlation with the delicate harmony inherent in the natural world.

From oil paintings to large-scale public installations, Quinze reawakens an instinctive sense of awe and appreciation for nature, showcasing its diversity and the beauty of evolution. Placing nature’s splendor at the core of his work, Quinze’s large-scale works confront us with the grandness of its power, bringing to the surface a powerful dialogue of resilience and fragility. Blurring the lines between culture and the natural world, Quinze creates immersive artistry of a delicate but vibrant world, capturing the very essence of life.

Since 2005, he has unveiled public sculptures in Europe (including London, Amsterdam and Paris) Asia (such as Shanghai, Mumbai and Beirut) North America (including New York, Chicago and Washington D.C.) and South America (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), and exhibited at the Burning Man Festival, Frieze Sculpture, London, Kunsthal Rotterdam, MAMAC Museum, Nice, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Art D’Egypte, among others. Upcoming projects include the exhibition ‘Are We The Aliens_’ during Venice Biennale 2024.

See also: The 2024 Concorso d’Eleganza Varignana 1705

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