The 2015 Scotland + Venice presentation at the 56th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale features a solo exhibition of new work by Glasgow-based artist Graham Fagen.
Commissioned and curated by Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland, the exhibition Come into the Garden, and forget about the War included sculpture, drawings and a five channel audio-visual installation and took place at Palazzo Fontana, Cannaregio from 9 May-22 November 2015.
Drawing on his long-term commitment to collaboration across multiple art forms and disciplines, that artist also brought together internationally renowned composer Sally Beamish, the musicians of Scottish Ensemble, reggae singer and musician Ghetto Priest and music producer Adrian Sherwood in the creation of the audio-visual installation.
Continuing Fagen’s interest in the natural environment, a neon text entitled 'Entra nel Giardino, e Dimentica la Guerra' (Come into the Garden, and forget about the War) marked the threshold of Palazzo Fontana, inviting visitors into a curated ‘garden’. Rope Tree, a monumental bronze sculpture cast from lengths of rope, is installed in the first room of the palazzo. Rooted by its sheer size, the work is weighted by historic and cultural associations of rope and references the architectural reliefs often found in merchant cities such as Venice. Scheme for Lament, a series of highly intricate Indian ink drawings intuitively and repetitively made by tracing the interior and exterior of the artist's own teeth as felt by his tongue, fill the second room; while Scheme for our Nature, sculptures of gold, silver, clay and metal, balance ceramic objects cast from faces, mouths and hands to create a field of metal frames and branches in the third room.
Fagen is one of the UK’s foremost contemporary artists. His work mixes media and crosses continents; combining video, performance, photography, and sculpture with text and music. His recurring artistic themes include plants, journeys, poetry and popular song as a means to focus on personal and shared experience and identity. His works offer a clear-sighted perspective on the powerful forces that shape our lives.