The resilience of local villagers confronting a deluge of mud, a major environmental disaster. The interaction between pictorial space and real space and between expectation and perception. The erasure of property development and the erasure of warfare and disaster and the personal versus the global.
These are some of the concepts explored in three new projects by the three artists representing Australia at the 2007 Venice Biennale opening in June.
Susan Norrie explores the pervasive geopolitical issues of a changing world in her three-room video installation at Palazzo Giustinian Lolin. HAVOC focuses on man-made interventions and seismic disturbances that have wrought devastation to areas of East Java. She documents the resilience of a people confronting disaster, as well as the broader social changes occurring within a culture.
Daniel von Sturmer
The Object of Things is a multimedia installation created specially for the Australian Pavilion. In The Object of Things video projections and objects are brought together atop a long plywood platform, a continuous floating plane which folds into, over, around and through the pavilion space, shifting heights and direction as it goes.
Valhalla, at Palazzo Zenobio, is a ruined building, Morton’s childhood home: ‘torched, sutured together and shot through with holes… A monument to all those skeletal structures left dangling after disaster strikes’. The modern dream home, designed by his architect father, is reconstructed to 3/4 scale in Venice, but is no ordinary ruin. Visitors enter an immaculate interior space, a corporate cavity where lifts light up and malfunction, screams are heard, seismic shudders are felt, and muzak soothes.
‘We are thrilled to be presenting such outstanding and innovative work to leading curators, collectors and critics from around the world and are confident that Australia will, once again, receive a very strong response,’ said Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele.
Australian commissioner John Kaldor said ‘exhibiting in Venice is like being shown simultaneously in London, Berlin, Rome, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. These three artists are at the forefront of their practice, creating works that are powerful, fascinating and challenging, reflecting the best of contemporary Australian art, yet international in their perspective and ambition.’
The Venice Biennale is the oldest and most important international forum for contemporary arts and runs from 10 June – 21 November 2007.
The Australia Council for the Arts has managed and funded Australian representation at the Biennale since 1978. Past Australian representatives include Bill Henson, Judy Watson, Howard Arkley, Lyndal Jones, Patricia Piccinini and Ricky Swallow.
John Kaldor AM is the 2007 Australian commissioner and Juliana Engberg is the senior curatorial advisor.
Three other leading Australian artists have been selected by Biennale artistic director Robert Storr for his exhibition Think with the Senses—Feel with the Mind: Rosemary Laing, Shaun Gladwell and Christian Capurro.
Ms Keele said: ‘the participation of the three Australian artists in the prestigious curated show consolidates a very strong presence of Australian contemporary art at the 2007 Venice Biennale. This is the largest ever contingent of Australian artists.’
‘We are also pleased that nineteen Australian curators and visual arts educators will participate in professional development activities at the Biennale. This in turn will assist the continued development of a robust visual arts sector in Australia.’
Australia’s exhibitions at the Venice Biennale have been supported by Major Partners UBS and The Balnaves Foundation; Supporting Partners Arts Victoria, Qantas, Museum of Old and New Art, Maddocks, Nelson Meers Foundation, Rosyln Oxley9 Gallery, Anna Schwartz Gallery; and 86 individual donors.
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Susan Norrie is represented by Mori Gallery.
Daniel von Sturmer is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Callum Morton is represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery and Anna Schwartz Gallery.