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Expressions of Interest: Venice Biennale of Art 05

Creative New Zealand seeks expressions of interest for 51st Venice Biennale of Art 2005

Creative New Zealand is calling for expressions of interest from New Zealand artists of considerable achievement and/or curators on behalf of these artists to represent New Zealand at the 51st Venice Biennale, which opens in June 2005.

This will be the third time that Creative New Zealand has supported a New Zealand presence at the Venice Biennale, the world's oldest and most prestigious international critical forum for contemporary visual art. Jacqueline Fraser and Peter Robinson represented New Zealand at the 2001 Biennale while Michael Stevenson represented New Zealand this year with his multi-layered installation, This is the Trekka. In 2003, Creative New Zealand worked on the project in partnership with City Gallery Wellington.

Elizabeth Kerr, Chief Executive of Creative New Zealand, says that the Venice Biennale has high standing in the international visual arts community, and the three-day Vernissage (preview period) attracts thousands of the world's media, visual arts professionals and representatives of exhibiting countries.

"We're looking for project proposals from artists with a strong track record, who produce outstanding and distinctive work. Ideally they should also be used to working overseas, attuned to the international visual arts context and being in the media spotlight," Miss Kerr says.

New Zealand's presence at both the 2001 and 2003 Biennale were a great success, both artistically and in terms of heightened international awareness of New Zealand visual arts, Miss Kerr says. Over the five-month period from June to November 2003, more than 58,000 people visited the New Zealand exhibition in La Maddalena church.

Britain's Audio Arts correspondent Rachel Withers said of This is the Trekka: "This is only New Zealand's second presence at the Biennale, and for my money this is the most interesting of all the national representations here at this year's Biennale." American curator Ralph Rugoff writing in Frieze, Britain's leading art magazine praised the exhibition for its bite and humour, while Time magazine's Michael Fitzgerald said the exhibition "cleverly concocts a time capsule of New Zealand before globalisation".

"Consistent participation at this event has long-term benefits, both for New Zealand and for the visual arts sector," Miss Kerr says. "Sixty-two countries took part in this year's Biennale. New Zealand's participation in an international event of this stature plays a crucial role in reinforcing New Zealand's cultural credentials and broadening international perceptions of this country.

"Participation also has positive spin-offs for New Zealand's visual arts community and offers significant professional development opportunities for those who take part."

Interested artists, curators and artist/curator teams should contact Creative New Zealand for a briefing document that outlines the scope of the project, the selection criteria and selection process.

Expressions of interest must be received by Creative New Zealand (or postmarked) no later than Friday 20 February 2004. Late responses will not be accepted.

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