13 May - 26 November 2017

Phyllida Barlow has been selected to represent Britain at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia and she presents a major solo show in the British Pavilion. 

Best known for her colossal sculptural projects, for over four decades Phyllida Barlow has employed a distinctive vocabulary of inexpensive materials such as plywood, cardboard, plaster, cement, fabric and paint to create striking sculptures and bold and expansive installations that confront the relationship between objects and the space that surrounds them. Drawing on memories of familiar objects from her surroundings, Barlow’s practice is grounded in an anti-monumental tradition characterised by her physical experience of handling materials in an expedient and direct way.

“It is an extraordinary privilege and honour to be invited to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale 2017. I am astonished, thrilled and, of course, hugely excited... The international diversity for which the Biennale is so renowned within the particular context of Venice is a unique and stimulating creative opportunity beyond my wildest dreams." 
Phyllida Barlow 

The Commissioner of the British Pavilion is Emma Dexter, Director Visual Arts, British Council. The exhibition is commissioned by the British Council for the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2017 and has been made possible with the generous support of Hauser & Wirth.

untitled: GIG (detail), 2014, Phyllida Barlow, Hauser & Wirth Somerset
untitled: GIG (detail), 2014, Phyllida Barlow, fabric, paper, cord, timber, paint. Installation view, GIG, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2014. Photo: Alex Delfanne ©

Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Portrait of the artist Phyllida Barlow
Phyllida Barlow ©

Thierry Bal. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

untitled: dock: emptystaircasehoarding, 2014, Phyllida Barlow, Tate Britain
untitled: dock: emptystaircasehoarding, 2014, Phyllida Barlow. Installation view, dock, Duveen Commission, Tate Britain, London, England, 2014. Photo: Alex Delfanne ©

Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view, set, Phyllida Barlow, The Fruitmarket Gallery
Installation view, set, Phyllida Barlow, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2015. Photo: Ruth Clark ©

Phyllida Barlow. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Selection Committee

The 2017 Venice Biennale Selection Committee, which advises the British Council on the UK's representation in the British Pavilion, is made up of the following members:  

  • Maria Balshaw, Director, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
  • Alfredo Cramerotti, Director, MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales
  • Jennifer Higgie, Editor, Frieze Magazine
  • Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive, New Art Exchange, Nottingham
  • Sarah McCrory, Director, Glasgow International, Glasgow, Scotland
  • Helen Legg, Director, Spike Island, Bristol
  • Matt Packer, Director, Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry, Northern Ireland
  • Alastair Sooke, Art Critic and Columnist, The Daily Telegraph and BBC

Biography

Phyllida Barlow's recent solo exhibitions include: demo, Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); tryst, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, USA (2015); set, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2015); dock, the Duveen Commission at Tate Britain, London, England (2014); HOARD, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, USA (2013); scree, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, USA (2013); siege, New Museum, New York, USA (2012); BRINK, Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany (2012); Phyllida Barlow: Bad Copies, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England (2012); Cast, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2011); STREET, BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, Austria (2010); and in 2010, she was in the critically acclaimed two-person show at the Serpentine Gallery, London, England with Nairy Baghramian. Barlow is represented worldwide by Hauser & Wirth. 

See also