A cube made of gold, worth a reported €10m and billed as a conceptual work of art, has been placed in the heart of Venice in front of the Ça’ di Dio near St Mark’s Square. “The Castello Cube is a conceptual work that seems to have arrived from another world and will now stand on the cobbles of Venice, without a pedestal,” a press statement says.
The art historian Dieter Buchhart unveiled the piece today alonside the German artist Niclas Castello. Composed of 400lbs (186kg) of pure 24-karat gold, the Castello Cube is hollow inside. The piece arrived by boat and was craned into position at 5.30am this morning. It is purposefully placed on the grubby pavement, rather than on a plinth. "It is based on the ground, which is important," Buchhart says. "It doesn't belong here. It also takes an imprint of where it is placed."
Located in a thoroughfare along the Venice waterfront, many people do not even notice the sculpture, even though it is surrounded by a security detail of seven men. "Look at how we are today," Buchhart says. "They walk by. Why? It would be natural to be curious or amazed. It says a lot about perception."
Despite its material value, a spokeswoman says the cube will never be sold. The work was accompanied by a related NFT (non-fungible token), which will be available later this year, and a new digital currency called Castello Coin.
The Castello Cube was shown in New York earlier this year in Central Park. Time Outwrote: “The plot [event] was Castello's own way of promoting the launch of his upcoming non-fungible token (whatever that means) but New Yorkers took the chance to turn the odd installation into a hilarious topic of conversation on social media.”
The sculpture is on show until 8pm today and members of the public are, this time, invited to touch it. "It's incredibly soft," Buchhart says. "You literally imprint the gold if you touch it; it gets a piece of you in it. It connects us all." The piece is set to travel further to yet undisclosed locations.