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Venues Secured For Premier Venice Art Exhibition

18 December 2008

Creative New Zealand the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.

Media Release

New Zealand Venues Secured For Premier Venice Art Exhibition

Creative New Zealand has secured venues for the New Zealand exhibitions at the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Painter Judy Millar's large scale installation will herald the re-opening after 30 years of the regal Sant' Antonin church and sculptor Francis Upritchard's will be housed in the exquisite Fondazione Claudio Buziol on one of the main walking routes from Venice's busy train station.

Located close by the Arsenale, en route to Giardini and ideally suited to Millar's work, Sant' Antonin church's architectural scale and natural light will also generate much interest from its 'discovery' and restoration as a biennale location.

The more intimate venue of Fondazione Claudio Buziol will house Francis Upritchard's imaginary landscape. Close to the Rialto Bridge her second floor grand palazzo exhibition rooms look directly out at the Grand Canal, one of the worlds most tourist populated highways.

Creative New Zealand's biennale Commissioner Jenny Harper said, 'Each venue is interesting in its own right, the Fondazione Buziol with its smaller-scale charm and uniqueness, and Sant' Antonin with its larger, but manageable, architectural scale. There is no question that each artist will be able to realise their creative endeavours to the best advantage in these venues."

Jenny Harper represented New Zealand at the country commissioner's meeting in Venice recently, at which the theme, 'Making worlds' was announced by director of the 53rd Biennale, Daniel Birnbaum. Birnbaum acknowledged art as representing the vision of the world rather than just an object. The exhibition which Birnbaum curates for the biennale will not be divided into sections, but will be conceived as one large exhibition highlighting the visible world.

More countries than ever before will participate in the 53rd Biennale (estimated at 85-87 in 2009), with several countries participating for the first time, including United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Pakistan, Monaco and Andorra.


A graduate of the Elam School of Fine Arts, Judy Millar is renowned for her large-scale vibrant paintings.

Her concept for the Venice Biennale is an installation of large-scale painted canvases. These canvases will allow the viewer to move physically inside the painting. The installation aims to create a new perspective on and question European painting traditions, particularly the relationship between the art object and the exhibition space.

A New Zealand born artist living in London, Francis Upritchard was the 2006 winner of the Walters Prize and has exhibited extensively in New Zealand, Europe and America since graduating from Canterbury University's Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1997.

Her concept for the Biennale is an imaginary landscape, which refers to the hallucinatory works of the medieval painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel but exists in an indeterminate historical period. The landscape will be populated with hand-made figures. All the architectural structures will be mixed-media, made of materials such as glass, wood, ceramic and leather. The landscape will combine the antique with the futuristic, making the scene both familiar and unsettling. The work explores ideas about time, hope and evolutionary change.

Both projects are being developed in association with New Zealand Commissioner Jenny Harper and the artists individual curators are initiatives of Creative New Zealand the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.

Creative New Zealand will invest $650,000 directly in the project, as well as providing staff support. Additional income of over $400,000 is targeted to come from private patronage and sponsorship.


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