The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and TBA21 present Of Whales, an installation by the American artist Wu Tsang (born 1982), based on her film adaptation of Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. Presented at the 2022 Biennale di Venezia within the international art exhibition The Milk of Dreams, this project is set in a psychedelic oceanic setting generated by extended reality technology.

Of Whales re-analyses the profound meditation on knowledge, exoticism and eroticism of Melville’s original text through a post-colonialist lens. Seen from the perspective of the whale and the diverse crew of sailors on board the whaling ship the Pequod, this complex work locates Melville’s story in the context of mid-19th-century naval history, of the transatlantic birth of modern capitalism and of the birth of mass protests. The immensity of the ocean becomes the symbol of the unknown and the artist’s ideas point to the existence of oblique perspectives, encouraging the idea that any viewpoint is a unique one.

Selection of images