Venice diary: Rosy Lee dispenses fortunes at the Hotel Metropole to Ai Weiwei and Gavin Turk

Gavin Turk has installed his mechanical fortune-telling sculpture Rosy Lee and more

The Buck stopped here

The Buck stopped here is a weekly blog by our contemporary art correspondent Louisa Buck covering the hottest events and must-see exhibitions in London and beyond

Feeling a little unsure of what the future holds? Needing a little life guidance in these troubling times? Then look no further than the Hotel Metropole, where Gavin Turk has installed his mechanical fortune-telling sculpture, Rosy Lee, who has been doing a brisk trade with Biennale visitors and will be in situ until 2 July. Put a special token in the slot and the Romany crone—who bears an uncanny resemblance to Turk himself—looms up with flashing red eyes and shimmering crystal ball, and dispenses a card that offers the recipient a special piece of advice, a magic colour, a lucky number and an ‘animal legend’. 

Among Rosy Lee’s illustrious punters so far have been Ai Weiwei, who divulged that his animal legend had been, appropriately, a panda. However, another celebrated artistic name was not so forthcoming about his encounter with Rosy. Joseph Kosuth preferred to keep his card close to his chest and its contents to himself. All of which gave rise to some merry speculation that, given the conceptual legend’s priapic reputation, either a ram or a goat would be the most likely contenders…