At 4.00pm today, Tuesday 5 May (Venice time), the new Denton Corker Marshall designed
Australian Pavilion in Venice’s historic Biennale precinct was officially
opened by Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General and Minister for
the Arts, and welcomed by Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice Biennale.
Built with a $1
million contribution from the Australian Government through the Australia
Council for the Arts, and a staggering $6.5million in donations from over 80
private Australian benefactors, the Minister said the pavilion project was a
highly successful yet ambitious example of what public and private partnerships
The Venice Biennale
is widely considered to be the most prestigious and important event on the
international contemporary arts calendar, and Australia holds one of only 29
coveted permanent sites in the renowned Venice Biennale exhibition
The new Australian
Pavilion was built to replace a temporary exhibition space designed by Philip
Cox and shipped to Venice
in 1988. The first 21st century pavilion to be built in the Biennale
precinct is a two level concrete and steel structure, clad in granite, designed
as a white box within a black box.
Commissioner and lead donor for the new pavilion Mr Simon Mordant AM said: “Today, we contribute to a new chapter in the
history of the national pavilions in Venice,
with this new contemporary pavilion.”
Mr Mordant, who
contributed $2million towards the project with his wife Catriona Mordant, said
a strong vision for the new Australian Pavilion has been realised with the
Denton Corker Marshall design.
“We asked for a
building that was distinctive…durable, resilient, and breathtakingly
simple. It was key that artists could
claim the space. The architects have
delivered this brief perfectly.”
Pavilion donor Cate
Blanchett, who opened the 2005 Australian exhibition on the site of the
Australian Pavilion, spoke on behalf of over 80 families who supported the
“This bold building
speaks to Australia’s
cultural ambition. It reflects not how
the world may see Australia, but how many
Australians see ourselves, as a modern, forward looking nation,” she said.
congratulated the Australia Council for the Arts and the architects on
realizing a new home for Australia in Venice. “The Venice
Biennale is a place to engage in the international dialogue and to contribute
to the conversations and trends of our time.
Many Australians have supported this project because
they believe, like I, that art is important to our future.”
For the past three
decades Australia’s presentations at the Venice
Biennale has been supported and managed by the Australia Council for the
Mr Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council thanked
the Australian Government and individual donors for their support. Mr Myer
particularly acknowledged the drive and vision of Simon and Catriona Mordant in
leading the project, and the Australia Council project team for realising the
project on time and on budget.
“This is a significant part of Australia's
arts infrastructure which directly faces international audiences
and some of the world's most influential artists, writers, curators, collectors
and gallerists. This building gives greater visibility to our current and
future generations of artists, and amplification to their ideas and
motivations.” Mr Myer said.
artist Fiona Hall will inaugurate the new
pavilion with the exhibition Wrong Way Time, which will open on Wednesday 6
May, 10.30am (Venice Time, EST 6.30pm Wednesday 6 May).
Visit the Venice Biennale page here.
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