Friday 10 February 2017

UK at the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

The British Council is delighted to announce its partnership with Scotland and Wales in presenting three exhibitions at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

The British Council has commissioned artists for the British Pavilion since 1937, showcasing the best of artistic talent from the UK. Past artists have included Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, Richard Long, Anish Kapoor, Mark Wallinger, Rachel Whiteread, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, Steve McQueen, Mike Nelson, Jeremy Deller and most recently Sarah Lucas in 2015.

Since 2003, independent exhibitions from the UK nations have taken place in Venice and we are delighted to be working closely with Scotland + Venice and Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice to showcase three of the most interesting contemporary artists from Britain. The collaboration will include the creation of short films featuring the selected artists and their Venice exhibitions.

Watch the preview trailer

Great Britain: Phyllida Barlow

Phyllida Barlow will present a major solo exhibition of new work in the British Pavilion.

Best known for her colossal sculptural projects, for over five 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.

The British Council has commissioned artists to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale since 1937 and Barlow’s exhibition will be the 21st solo presentation in the British Pavilion. The British Council’s commission follows Barlow’s acclaimed solo exhibitions including: 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, UK (2014).

An illustrated book will be published by Black Dog Publishing to coincide with the opening of the exhibition in Venice including texts by Phyllida Barlow and Emma Dexter.

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. This presentation has been made possible with the generous support of Hauser & Wirth.

Scotland: Rachel Maclean

Rachel Maclean will present a major new film commission for Scotland + Venice.

One of the most significant contemporary artists working in Scotland today, Maclean has had considerable recent success, with solo exhibitions at HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain, London.

Raising critical questions about identity, economy, society, connectivity and morality, Maclean’s work combines traditional modes of theatre with technology and popular culture to create fantasy narratives under the guise of a hyper-saturated candy-coloured aesthetic, possessing a unique and often disturbing vision.

Maclean’s commission will be presented within a new space for Scotland + Venice: the dramatic church, Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Fondamenta Santa Caterina, in Cannaregio. Originally established to uphold moral authority and political-religious power, this venue now offers a new context for Maclean’s work, cutting across cultural divides to question notions of truth, conscience and power in the 21st century.

Playing all the characters in the films herself, while working directly on every detail of post-production, Maclean’s creative process involves studio based green-screen techniques, custom prosthetics, costume, and voice actors. With unusual artistic confidence and vigour, her work is intellectually challenging and visually provocative.

This new work, commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts, celebrates the dynamic creativity emerging within artists’ film and moving image practice in Scotland today. Talbot Rice Gallery, as the project’s creative and academic partner, will host Maclean’s work following the Venice Biennale in early 2018.

Wales: James Richards

James Richards will represent Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice with a solo presentation curated by Chapter.

Cardiff-born Richards’ interest lies in the possibility of the personal amidst the chaos of mass media. He combines video, sound and still images to create installations and live events. His work makes use of an ever-growing bank of video material that includes fragments of cinema, works by other artists, stray camcorder footage, murky late night TV and archive research.

Carefully constructed installations involve sculptural, cinematic, acoustic, musical and curatorial considerations to create works of extraordinary intensity. Following a solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery in 2011, his Turner prize nomination in 2014 and recent collaborative projects between ICA, London, Bergen Kunsthall and Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, this opportunity comes at a pivotal moment to consolidate Richards’ practice at one of the most significant international platforms for the visual arts.

Richards’ presentation for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2017 – his first major commission at an international biennale – will consist of a new, site responsive sound installation and a suite of additional works containing overlapping archival samples and musical extracts repeated or reworked into different forms. He will collaborate with students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and, through a partnership residency, will explore the archives of the National Sound and Screen Archive in Aberystwyth. As part of the project, the artist will also curate a group show for Chapter in Autumn 2017 after which his solo Venice presentation will be shown in February 2018.

The Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice exhibition will be presented at the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in Castello, located just off Via Garibaldi, midway between the main Biennale Giardini and Arsenale sites.

Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice is commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales with support and collaboration from the Welsh Government, Wales Arts International and the British Council.

Notes to Editor

Great Britain

Phyllida Barlow British Pavilion, Giardini di Castello, 30122, Venezia

13 May – 26 November 2017

www.britishcouncil.org/venicebiennale
@Brit_VisualArts
#BritishPavilion #UKinVenice

1. The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7,000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

2. The British Council works with an advisory committee of leading arts professionals across the UK which advises on the artist selection for the Venice Biennale every two years. This is to ensure that the selection process is transparent and broadly based. The 2017 Venice Biennale Selection Committee 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

3. Initiated by the British Council at the Architecture Biennale in 2014, the Venice Fellowships programme is being introduced for the first time at the Art Biennale in 2017. Working in partnership with more than 15 universities and arts organisations, each year we offer up to 60 students and volunteers the opportunity to spend a month in Venice conducting independent research and invigilating the exhibition.

4. A new website charting the history of the British Pavilion and the British Council’s involvement in the Venice Biennale since 1937 has launched: www.britishcouncil.org/venicebiennale

Credit line:
Phyllida Barlow’s British Council commission is at La Biennale di Venezia from 13 May to 26 November 2017. www.britishcouncil.org/venicebiennale

Media Contacts:

Chloe Kinsman or Florence Ritter at Pelham Communications
E: Chloe@pelhamcommunications.com or Florence@pelhamcommunications.com
+44 (0)208 9693959

For information about the British Council – Mary Doherty at the British Council
E: Mary.Doherty@britishcouncil.org

Scotland

Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland. Rachel Maclean’s presentation is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery and the University of Edinburgh, and will take place at Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Fondamenta Santa Caterina, 30121, Cannaregio; (vaporetto stops: Ca’ D’oro or Fondamenta Nove). Free admission.

www.scotlandandvenice.com
@scotlandvenice
www.facebook.com/scotlandandvenice

Based in Glasgow, Rachel Maclean (1987) was educated at Edinburgh College of Art where she completed her BA in Drawing and Painting in 2009. Her work came to prominence in New Contemporaries 2009 and she achieved significant acclaim through her British Art Show 8 hit Feed Me in 2016. Rachel was nominated for the Jarman Award in 2013 and 2016. In 2013 she won the Margaret Tait Award. Rachel premiered a new commission at Frieze Art Fair as part of Frieze Film 2016. Her work is the subject of a solo show at Tate Britain, as part of the Art Now series, on view until April 2017.

Recent exhibitions include: Wot U :-) About?, HOME (2016-17); We Want Data (2016), Artpace, Texas; British Art Show 8 (2015-17), Ok, You’ve Had Your Fun, Casino Luxembourg (2015), Please, Sir…, Rowing, London, (2014); The Weepers, Comar, Mull, (2014); Happy & Glorious, CCA, Glasgow, (2014). Recent screenings include: Feed Me, Athens and Luxembourg Film Festival (2016): Moving Pictures, British Council and Film London, (2015-16); Lolcats, Impakt Festival, Utrecht, The Netherlands, (2014).

www.rachelmaclean.com
@Maclean_Rachel
www.facebook.com/artistrachelmaclean

1. Alchemy Film & Arts celebrates experimental film and artists’ moving image culture in Scotland. Its annual Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, 2-5 March, 2017, is produced in partnership with Heart of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. In conversation with Festival Director and S+V 2017 Curator Richard Ashrowan, Rachel Maclean will talk about her work to date and approach to the Venice presentation on Saturday 4 March 2017.

www.alchemyfilmfestival.org.uk
@alchemyfilmfest
www.facebook.com/alchemyfilmfestival

2. Talbot Rice is the University of Edinburgh’s public art gallery. Talbot Rice has an influential national and

international reputation founded on its exhibition and integrated education programmes. In the last decade the Gallery has curated exhibitions with some of the most influential artists in the world, including: Luc Tuymans, Jane and Louise Wilson, Joseph Kosuth, Jenny Holzer, Lucy McKenzie, Alasdair Gray, Mark Dion, Rosemarie Trockel, and Tim Rollins.

www.ed.ac.uk/talbot-rice
@talbotrice75
www.facebook.com/talbotricegallery

3. 14 art students have been selected from six Scottish art colleges for the Scotland + Venice Professional Development Programme. Participants will spend four weeks in Venice sharing time between invigilation of the Scotland + Venice presentation and independent study and research. Students participating come from Borders College, City of Glasgow College, Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Edinburgh College of Art, The Glasgow School of Art and Aberdeen’s Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University.

Media Contacts:

Victoria Mitchell at SUTTON
E: Victoria@suttonpr.com
T: +44 (0)20 7183 3577
M: +44 (0)759 5217 616

Scotland: Rachel Maclean

Rachel Maclean will present a major new film commission for Scotland + Venice.

One of the most significant contemporary artists working in Scotland today, Maclean has had considerable recent success, with solo exhibitions at HOME, Manchester and Tate Britain, London.

Raising critical questions about identity, economy, society, connectivity and morality, Maclean’s work combines traditional modes of theatre with technology and popular culture to create fantasy narratives under the guise of a hyper-saturated candy-coloured aesthetic, possessing a unique and often disturbing vision.

Maclean’s commission will be presented within a new space for Scotland + Venice: the dramatic church, Chiesa di Santa Caterina, Fondamenta Santa Caterina, in Cannaregio. Originally established to uphold moral authority and political-religious power, this venue now offers a new context for Maclean’s work, cutting across cultural divides to question notions of truth, conscience and power in the 21st century.

Playing all the characters in the films herself, while working directly on every detail of post-production, Maclean’s creative process involves studio based green-screen techniques, custom prosthetics, costume, and voice actors. With unusual artistic confidence and vigour, her work is intellectually challenging and visually provocative.

This new work, commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts, celebrates the dynamic creativity emerging within artists’ film and moving image practice in Scotland today. Talbot Rice Gallery, as the project’s creative and academic partner, will host Maclean’s work following the Venice Biennale in early 2018.

Wales

Wales in Venice, James Richards, Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, Castello, Venezia, 13 May – 26 November, 2017. Free admission.

Website: venice.art.wales
Facebook: WalesInVenice
Twitter: @WalesInVenice
Instagram: @WalesInVenice

James Richards (b. Cardiff, 1983) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at Cardiff School of Art and Design before completing a degree in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design London. Recent solo exhibitions include Request and Antisongs, ICA London; Crumb Mahogany, Bergen Kunsthall and Radio at Night, Museum of Contemporary Art Bordeaux, all 2016; James Richards, Kunstverein Munchen, 2015 and Not Blacking Out Just Turning The Lights Off, Chisenhale London (2011). Richards has been selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He was a recipient of the 2014 Ars Viva Prize for artists and the 2012 Jarman Award for film and video and was shortlisted for the 2014 Turner Prize.

Richards is represented by Rodeo and Cabinet in London. james-richards.co.uk

James Richards’ commission is curated by Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Art, Chapter, Cardiff. Chapter is a multi-artform venue in Cardiff, Wales that presents and produces international art, performance and film.

Wales’ presence at Venice reflects back into Wales through initiatives such as the Invigilator Plus programme that offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators. Opportunities for students to participate has been developed in 2017 as a pilot with Cardiff School of Art and Design to help scope collaborative initiatives with academic institutions in Wales in the future. Talks and events contextualising Richards’ wider practice are being developed in partnership with the artist-run organisation G39 and will take place in Wales throughout 2017.

1. Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice is commissioned and managed by the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International with support and collaboration from the Welsh Government and British Council. It’s selected by a call for proposals. Arts Council of Wales has commissioned artists to present at Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice as a Collateral Event at the Venice Biennale since 2003, celebrating the best of emerging and established artists from Wales. Previous artists include Helen Sear, Bedwyr Williams, Tim Davies and John Cale.

2. Arts Council of Wales is responsible for funding and developing the arts in Wales. Our principal sponsor is the Welsh Government. We also distribute funding from the National Lottery and raise additional money where we can from a variety of public and private sector sources. Our vision is of a creative Wales where the arts are central to the life of the nation.

Website: www.arts.wales
Twitter: @arts_wales
Facebook: facebook.com/celfyddydau

3. Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff is one of Europe’s largest arts centres with cinemas, theatres, exhibition spaces, artists’ studios and a café bar. Chapter Gallery has a reputation for innovation, internationalism and excellence with an emphasis on commissioning and presenting new work, developing artists’ residencies, touring and collaboration, publishing, and creating forums for critical reflection.

Website: www.chapter.org
Twitter: @chaptergallery
Instagram: @chaptergallery
Facebook: chaptergallery

See also