56th Venice Biennale opens this week - Art Collector

Fiona Hall, Fleet, 2012. Sardine tins with creatures from the Kermadec Trench, paint
12 parts, each approx. 25 x 19 x 2.5cm. Courtesy: the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney Australia. Credit: Clayton Glen

Fiona Hall and Simon Denny will represent Australia and New Zealand, respectively, at this year’s Venice Biennale, opening this week.Hall’s exhibition, Wrong Way Time, will feature hundreds of multi-piece works from her four decade-long practice. She transforms everyday objects into complex, highly detailed and exquisitely crafted artworks that examine the relationship between humans and nature. Hall is particularly critical of the influence of politics, finance and globalisation on ecological destruction,describing this culture “a minefield of madness, badness, sadness, in equal measure.”

Curator Linda Michael observes that Hall’s work is nonetheless “life-affirming [with] its own vitality in perverse distinction” to its subjects.

The new Australian pavilion designed by Denton Corker Marshall resembles a black cube, a clever foil to the white cube interior.

The new pavilion will sit in stark contrast to the neighbouring neo-classical French and British pavilions. The construction was predominantly funded by private benefactors, including a $2million donation from Simon Mordant – the Australian commissioner for this year’s Biennale. Mordant observes that the new pavilion will not only “attract global attention”, but will also “enable the best artists to optimally show their work”.

While New Zealand does not own its own permanent pavilion,its artists often capitalise on this flexibility of site. For instance, Denny’s2015 exhibition will be located at two venues, one old and one new: the ornate16th century Marciana Library in Piazza San Marco and a terminal at Venice’s Marco Polo airport. Titled
Secret Power, the project will examine ownership and access to information since Edward Snowden leaked data from the United States National Security Agency – where debates around the issues have become far more complex – drawing attention to the relationship between geography, knowledge and power. The library was chosen for its associations with knowledge and authority and the airport for its distinctive environment, language and design.Installed throughout the arrivals lounge, Denny’s artwork will be the first seen by many of the visitors to the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Lucy Hawthorne

The 56th Venice Biennale runs from 9th May to 22nd November 2015.

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