‘Last Train’ by Ron Arad is an installation commissioned by the firm of Steinmetz Diamond Co., to create a piece which featured their world renowned precious stones. Rather than concentrate on the diamond as an expensive object of beauty, the Israeli born, London based artist, wanted to define the element of strength for which the stone is equally famed.
The catalyst for the inspiration of the installation came from a fleeting glance of a main on a train, etching a pattern into the carriage window. Ron Arad kept this image in his mind and fantasized on what may have lead to this action. This unforgettable memory was developed into a facsimile of his own hand, wearing a diamond ring, emerging dramatically through a slit in a dark curtain, positioned behind a pane of glass.
The hand was activated digitally via an ipad and stylus so that sketches on the ipad were translated into the hand coming to life and duplicating the lines on the pane of glass as illuminated patterns, creating Picasso like sketches. Adding an interactive element to the piece, the artist invited 12 of his favourite artists to participate and the results form part of the exhibition.
Diamond etching has been referenced from the 16th century up to the present day from the heartfelt love messages of Queen Elizabeth the first on cups and jars, and the poems of Robbie Burns on panes of glass, to the modern day traveller who scratches his thoughts on glass surfaces to while away his time.
At the Biennale 2013 opening on 29th May, Ron Arad and Javier Mariscal gave a live demonstration of the installation with the collaboration of Ai Weiwei, via a link to Beijing. This fascinating exhibition which merges art, diamonds and digital technology, will continue at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, San Marco from June 1st through November 24th, 2013.