Open Wall - CODAworx

Open Wall

Client: 53rd Venice Biennale, Shanghai Expo, Museum Kampa Prague

Location: Venice, Italy

Completion date: 2009

Artwork budget: $780,000

Project Team


Shan Shan Sheng

East West Art Studio


John Miesner

Interior Architects


Berengo studio

Berengo studio


“Open Wall” is a large-scale glass installation reinterpreting a section of the great wall for the 2009 Venice Biennale. “Open Wall”was produced out of 2,200 inscribed handmade Murano glass bricks. The installation re-establishes the Great Wall of China into a contemporary context and serves to illuminate China's emerging role in a global context.


Consisting of 2,200 glass bricks that correspond to the years of the Great Wall’s Construction, the Open Wall will be approximately 20 m (60ft) long, 2 m (6ft) high and 80 cm (2ft) deep. Sheng will use translucent stacked Venetian glass, a medium she has worked with extensively, to allude to dynastic Chinese architecture. Warm colors of red, gold and yellow will be used intermittently in layers making this an exquisite luminous structure. Being a temporary work, Open Wall will reconstruct China's Great Wall as a sequence of stacked glass bricks. The glass bricks will become a kind of cultural currency, to be distributed and redistributed in the process of installation.


"Open Wall" sited on the island of Certosa across the lagoon from the Biennale entrance. This installation work is part of a series of outdoor sculptures to be presented there especially for the 2009 Venice Biennale by the International Agency of Art UNESCO. This is a work of art that combines the rich architectural heritage of the East with the artist’s contemporary artistic vision and will welcome visitors to the exhibition.

Additional Information

The Open Wall project has been sponsored by: AIAP – Associazione Internazionale Arti Plastiche – UNESCO