On 26-27 February 2019, 70 students, researchers and early-career artists and cultural professionals from 35 UK-based universities and arts organisations gathered once again at Green Rooms the UK's first arts hotel, in Wood Green, London for the Venice Fellowships Induction School.
Over a two day residency, 2019’s Venice Fellows had a preview of the Cathy Wilkes exhibition, heard from the British Pavilion Commissioner Emma Dexter, British Council project team members and external facilitators. They also received training in access with a workshop from Attitude is Everything , as well as bring talked through communications, research skills, guidance and inspiration from Fellow alumni and British Council team members.
The Fellows also participated in a workshop with Sasha Morgan, Head of Education at Bold Tendencies, who introduced the Fellows to a range of poems and visual materials touching on themes which can be drawn upon when considering Cathy Wilkes’s work.
With limited textual interpretation, The Fellows will play a central role in mediating the exhibition for diverse and international audiences.
But just as the Fellows developed layers of meaning from these themes, as Cathy builds layers of paint on her canvases, like the artist, they were encouraged to wash these layers away again at the end of the day. As Dr Zoe Whitley, the 2019 British Pavilion curator reminds us, the goal is to not get in the way of Cathy Wilkes’ work. Her art doesn’t shout, and nor is it dogmatic. It is quiet or it murmurs, but it makes itself heard and its presence is felt.