“L’albero della vita” by Carla Tolomeo at Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo: An Artistic Marvel in Venice

Curated by Clara Santini and Chiara Squarcina
May 25, 2024 - November 24, 2024

The Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo – Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto, del Costume e del Profumo in Venice will host an extraordinary installation, “L’Albero della vita,” crafted by the acclaimed Italian artist and designer Carla Tolomeo. This eco-sustainable masterpiece is a testament to Tolomeo’s creative journey and features a vast structure adorned with fabric elements representing leaves, fruits, and animals.

A Monumental Installation

“L’Albero della vita” is an impressive, large-scale work made from iron, wood, and fabric. The installation comprises 800 individually crafted pieces by Tolomeo herself. Each component exists independently yet harmoniously within the larger structure of the tree.

Diverse and Detailed Elements

Every leaf in “L’Albero della vita” is unique. Fruits hang from branches where turtles climb, parrots perch, tropical flowers bloom, and snakes hide. Fish dart among the tree roots. All elements are handmade by Tolomeo using fabrics, trims, silks, cottons, damasks, and brocades, rooted in the rich tradition of Venetian textile craftsmanship.

Inspired by Borges

The cultural origin of “L’Albero della vita” draws inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges’ “Manuale di zoologia fantastica.” Borges, whom Tolomeo knew well, filled his book with mythical creatures that metaphorically represent the continuous renewal and transformation of all living beings. Transformation is a central theme in Tolomeo’s work, as she repurposes objects into new forms, guided by sustainability and her creative vision.

Artist’s Perspective

“Everything exists before us,” says Carla Tolomeo. “The challenge lies in learning to see, choose, and finally transform so that the result resembles us. Perhaps transformation is the primary action—it is the invention of what exists, giving dignity, overturning the obviousness of completed cycles, and promising eternal glory to the residue. But we must be able to transform, keeping in mind the lessons from those we have chosen as our masters.”

Visit “L’Albero della vita”

From May 25 to November 24, 2024, visitors to the Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo in Venice will have the unique opportunity to experience Carla Tolomeo’s “L’Albero della vita.” Don’t miss this chance to witness an extraordinary blend of art, tradition, and innovation.

Molly Se-kyung
Molly Se-kyung
Molly Se-kyung is a novelist and film and television critic. She is also in charge of the style sections.
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