At Ca' Foscari, art meets sustainability in "Consider yourself a guest"

With the site-specific installation by Christian Holstad, Consider yourself as a guest (Cornucopia), FPT Industrial, a brand of the CNH Industrial group and a leader in the production of industrial engines, announces its commitment to support the arts.
The artwork will be exhibited at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, from May 9 to 11 on the waters of the Canal Grande and from May 12 to June 12, 2019 in the University courtyard.

The project reveals not only FPT Industrial’s interest in the art world, as exemplified by its role as Main Sponsor of the Italian Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, but also its concrete commitment to sustainability and environmental protection, mainly concerning sea life, given how important the manufacturing of marine motors is to the company. 

Since April 2019, FPT Industrial is a partner of the European Clean Sea Life project which promotes awareness-raising activities aimed at protecting the sea from waste pollution. In 2018, the Clean Sea Life pilot initiative saw the involvement of twelve fishing boats from San Benedetto del Tronto which, in one work day, collected 385 kg of waste from the sea, demonstrating the need to spread good practices regarding this subject.

“These are awareness-raising projects which we believe are a ‘must’ for a company like ours – says Carlo Moroni, Head of Communications of FPT Industrial – which has always invested in research, with the goal of producing cutting-edge and sustainable engines that are also environmentally friendly. The Holstad installation and the Italian Pavilion sponsorship are a way of further consolidating our commitment, to support cultural production, and to pay homage to Venice, a city which absolutely represents the influence of water on our lives”.

Invited by Milovan Farronato, Christian Holstad conceived a site-specific piece, inspired by the current news about pollution of the seas and oceans all over the world, tying it to the subject of consumerism and its subsequent effects on the world.
A cornucopia, an ancient symbol of luck and abundance, made entirely of plastic waste, becomes the chance to reflect on the urgency of tackling the issue of pollution of our seas. The classical meaning of this iconic image is thus distorted by the artist, taking on a new negative sense of “excess”. 

“A past neighbor had a sign on their door which read "Consider yourself a guest". I walked past it each day for years and it became an unintended mantra”, says Christian Holstad. “Our dependence on plastics is not sustainable. Its effects are swelling into continents in our waters. Consider yourself a guest (Cornucopia) is a reflection of our impact on the planet and our consumptive roles within the growing plastic mass”.
Consider yourself as a guest (Cornucopia) aims to raise public awareness in a clear and immediate way, literally “bringing to the surface” a pressing problem rather than leaving it hidden in the depths of the sea. 

The presentation of the work at Ca' Foscari University of Venice confirms the ethical ambition of the project: since 2010, through the Sustainable Ca' Foscari program, the University encourages actions and behaviours that reduce the impact on the environment and natural resources, while also promoting social equity and economic development in the community.

Christian Holstad was born in 1972 in Anaheim, California; he currently lives and works in New York. Characterised by a unique attitude rather than a particular method, Holstad’s work includes ideas relating to the modern world; social class, culture, sexuality, and society all become the subject of his work. His personal exhibitions include: New Positions, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2017); Christian Holstad, red, yellow, lime, pink, lavender, green, scarlet, lavender, scarlet, green, lavender, The Magazine Sessions 2016, Serpentine Gallery, Londra (2016); Toothpick, Massimo De Carlo, Milano (2016); The Book of Hours, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York (2013); The World's Gone Beautiful, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York (2009-10); Christian Holstad. I Confess, Galleria Civica of Modena, Modena (2009); Gaity: Discovering the Lost Art (in Absentia), curated by Beatrix Ruf, Kunsthalle Zürich (2004) and Innocent Killers, Project Room, MoMA PS1, New York (2004). His collective exhibitions include: SI Onsite, Swiss Institute, New York (2018); Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art, Hangzhou (2013); Paper, Saatchi Gallery, Londra (2013); Aquatopia, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2013); Graphite, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis (2013); The Air We Breathe, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco (2011); Coming After, The Power Plant, Toronto (2011); Compilation IV, Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf (2009); Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009); Unmonumental (Inaugural Exhibition), New Museum, New York (2007). Furthermore, his work was displayed in 2007 at the Lyon Biennial and in 2004 at the Whitney Biennial in New York.