New Zealand has secured a prime site for the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event, the Venice Biennale. The New Zealand Pavilion for the 2013 event will be at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà (La Pietà), on the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare between Piazza San Marco and the Giardini, (the principal venue of the Biennale). La Pietà features four different exhibition spaces, including a spacious corridor in which Vivaldi once taught violin.
Acclaimed New Zealand light sculptor and installation artist Bill Culbert, announced as New Zealand’s representative at the 55th Biennale last October, will create site-specific works for the Pavilion. “The venue worked very well for the New Zealand presentation in 2005,” says New Zealand Arts Council Chair, Alastair Carruthers, “and it is exciting that we have been able to secure a larger exhibition complex for 2013, allowing Bill to respond to and create a journey through some very different spaces, and extending New Zealand’s presence to the busy edge of the Grand Canal.’’ “Many of Bill’s most fascinating works have appeared in settings that are not conventional art gallery spaces,” says 2013 Venice Biennale Commissioner, Jenny Harper. “Even now, it’s tempting to imagine the play-off between his light works and the historic textures and broader context of Venice.”
Bill Culbert began as a painter at Canterbury University’s School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, London. In the 1960s, he began to experiment with light and movement, and since the 1970s his art has encompassed photography, electric light and found objects. Since 1960 he has had more than 100 solo exhibitions in New Zealand, England, Europe, the United States and Australia, and appeared in many group exhibitions.
Culbert has also produced major public sculptures in spaces ranging from the Millennium Dome in London to the Wellington waterfront in New Zealand. New Zealand’s arts development agency, Creative New Zealand, funds and administers New Zealand’s presence at the Venice Biennale. Creative New Zealand acknowledges the support of Christchurch Art Gallery and Massey University in the realisation of the 2013 exhibition. New Zealand has exhibited at the Venice Biennale since 2001.
New Zealand artists who have previously represented New Zealand are: Peter Robinson and Jacqueline Fraser (2001), Michael Stevenson (2003), et al. (2005), Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard (2009) and Michael Parekowhai (2011) . The 2013 Venice Biennale runs for six months from June to November.
For further information, go to www.creativenz.govt.nz/nzatvenice or www.labiennale.org
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