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New Zealand’s venue announced for 2017 Venice Biennale

New Zealand’s venue announced for 2017 Venice Biennale

An historic naval warehouse in the heart of the Arsenale exhibition district will be the venue for Lisa Reihana’s media-based exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale in 2017.

The New Zealand pavilion will be housed in the Tesa dell'Isolotto, one of the oldest buildings in the Arsenale, among many permanent national pavilions and part of the Biennale’s curated exhibition.

The venue was announced by the Hon Maggie Barry, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, at a patrons’ campaign launch in Auckland tonight.

Commissioner Alastair Carruthers says selecting a venue early was crucial as few spaces are suitable for the artist’s large-scale audiovisual immersive project. He says, “Tesa dell'Isolotto’s location in a shipyard offers new possibilities for Reihana’s exhibition as she develops it for the Venice environment.”

“We are very fortunate to have found space in the Arsenale, where hundreds of thousands of visitors come to experience the best contemporary art from around the globe. This will be the first time the New Zealand pavilion is within the Biennale’s official exhibition area.”

He says, “The Arsenale is the magnificent historic shipyard of Venice, a naval basin that still operates and a place where ocean ready sailing vessels were built – at a rate of one per day.”

Emissaries will be the exhibition title of Reihana’s 2017 Venice Biennale presentation, which will include her panoramic video in Pursuit of Venus [infected],expanded and augmented with a series of new photographic works.

Reihana says, “Isolotta means ‘island’ and I’m very interested in the relevance of that, and of the location’s history as I develop this exhibition. Transported half a world away we will be new emissaries to Venice.”

Arts Council Chairman Dr Dick Grant says the Venice Biennale is widely recognised as the world’s pre-eminent contemporary art exhibition. He says, “It provides a huge opportunity for international exposure for New Zealand art and artists – and presents New Zealand as an assured country confidently taking its place on the world cultural stage. Each year, as we build on the success of previous exhibitions, our presence becomes more anticipated.”


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