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Swiss garden of art blossoms in Venice

Swiss artists have created a "rain" of vegetation and blossoms

An exotic garden created by two Swiss artists and set in a baroque church will be in full bloom throughout this year's Biennale art festival in Venice.

Described as "a mystical experience", it is expected to be one of the highlights of the festival, which features all aspects of contemporary visual and performing arts.

The joint installation by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger, "Falling Garden", is every bit as mystical as its location - the Church of San Staë on the Grand Canal.

"The church is a place of mystical experiences and miracles," says Andreas Münch head of the Swiss Federal Culture Office's art section and the installation's organiser.

"Steiner and Lenzlinger have explored and strengthened this special atmosphere, by suspending a 'rain' of vegetation and blossoms from the ceiling," he told swissinfo.

"They cascade down to a crystal flower garden of real and artificial plants and in the centre of the church, there's a bed on which visitors can lie and take in the whole scene."

"From there they will be able to soak in the ambience and absorb the many details of the installation."

Work in progress

The two artists, who have worked together since 1997 and are based at Uster, canton Zurich, spent over six weeks in Venice to prepare their brightly coloured creation.

When they leave the city, their "Falling Garden" will continue to grow. It will be tended by caretakers in the church, making it very much a work in progress.

"Steiner and Lenzlinger have exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world over the past six years," said Münch. "Their reputation as a team is sure to grow [as a result of the installation]."

"There's already been a positive and even enthusiastic reaction here from curators and art critics and we expect a similar response from the public."

Switzerland is also officially represented at the Biennale by Emmanuelle Antille's video installation, "Angel's Camp".

The 50th Venice Biennale ends on November 2.

swissinfo, Richard Dawson

Key Facts

"Falling Garden" is in the baroque Church of San Staë on the Grand Canal in Venice.
Created by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger, it is one of the many attractions from 64 countries on show at the 50th Venice Biennale, which features architecture, dance, music, theatre and cinema as well as the visual arts.
Steiner and Lenzlinger took over six weeks to install their installation in Venice.

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