Lorenzo Quinn sculptureFor Lorenzo Quinn, creator of the eye-grabbing installation, Support (pictured above), featured as part of this year’s Venice Biennale, his latest project was intended as far more than a mere conversation piece. The fortuitous opportunity to exhibit at one of the most important events on the arts calendar made it possible for the sculptor to make an important — almost spiritual — plea about pressing issues facing the environment, in a city most potentially imperiled by the specter of rising sea levels due to climate change. “Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries, but to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay,” says Quinn, 51, a son of the cinema legend Anthony Quinn and once an actor himself.

Known for his striking sculptural works that often incorporate the use of hands – “The hand holds so much power – the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy,” he has stated – Quinn constructed his massive undertaking out of resin-coated polyurethane foam, each piece weighing more than two tons. One can sense both despair yet hope of salvation in their symbolic reaching out, with a message that could not be more stark. Earlier this month, upon completion of the installation, Quinn instagrammed that “I hope my art brings a new focus of attention to a global calamity that we are faced with.” Not only that, he has also created a stunning example of art and conscience coming together in a perfect synchronicity of time and place.

[Support can be seen at Venice’s Ca’ Sagredo Hotel on the Canal Grande through November 26.]