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Spectacular venue secured for New Zealand exhibition

2015 Venice Biennale: Spectacular venue secured for New Zealand exhibition

New Zealand’s exhibition for the 56th Venice Biennale 2015 will be housed in the grand salon of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, one of the finest buildings in Venice and home to priceless works of cartography, art and literature.

New Zealand sculptor and installation artist Simon Denny, who will be exhibiting at next year’s Biennale, says the Marciana Library will provide a rich context for his work. “The exhibition will address the intersection of geography and power, and the ownership of knowledge, so this pioneering library will provide an enriching and highly relevant context for the work.”

New Zealand Commissioner for the 2015 Venice Biennale, Heather Galbraith says securing the Marciana Library is a coup for New Zealand. “It is located in the Piazzetta San Marco, in the heart of Venice. Designed by Jacopo Sansovino, the building is exquisite—a significant visitor destination in its own right. The Marciana Library holds many treasures including an exemplary early map of the world by fra Mauro (1448–53), which Simon’s project takes into consideration as it offers a parallel mapping of world power.”

Creative New Zealand has also announced additional team members to assist with New Zealand’s Biennale presentation.

One of New Zealand’s most experienced contemporary-art curators and writers, Robert Leonard, will be the curator. Leonard has held curatorial positions at the National Art Gallery, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and Auckland Art Gallery, and was Director of Artspace, Auckland. Having been Director of the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, since 2005, he recently returned to New Zealand to take up the role of Chief Curator at City Gallery Wellington.

He will be joined by Assistant Curator Alex Davidson. A graduate of the University of Auckland, she was Curatorial Assistant at Artspace in 2012. Her role is generously supported by Dame Jenny Gibbs.

Joining the team as a specialist adviser will be investigative journalist and author Nicky Hager. He has extensively researched and written on the intelligence industry.

The project takes its title from Hager’s 1996 book Secret Power, an account of the role and international standing of New Zealand’s intelligence work.

Amsterdam-based designer David Bennewith will work with Denny on the project’s branding and will design the website and exhibition catalogue. The catalogue will be edited by Robert Leonard and art writer, editor and commentator Mary Barr.

Heather Galbraith says, “We expect a high level of interest in New Zealand’s exhibition and finalising a team of this calibre along with a spectacular venue has been very exciting. These are significant milestones towards New Zealand at Venice 2015.”


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