The Venice Questionnaire #11: Bill Culbert

May 23, 2013 8:40PM

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published over the coming days. We spoke to Bill Culbert who will represent New Zealand. The pavilion is at Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà.

What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?

I’m working in eight connected spaces in the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, right by the lagoon. I’m using fluorescent light tubes and pieces of domestic furniture, which become stoppages and transporters for the light. There’s the iconoclasm of putting objects like that in this space, which has the air of the church and history. But especially I want to introduce an energy and simplicity, and have a kind of celebration of phenomena.

Are you approaching the show in a different way to how you would with a ‘normal’ exhibition?

There are no rules. Every situation is different. You just go with or against the given situation in the simplest way possible. I think the important thing in Venice will be the subtlety of the work. That’s where its usefulness will be. Making it bigger won’t make it more important. Making it more expensive won’t make it more important. I think to be modest but in some way thorough is not a bad way to go.

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Bill Culbert, Crayfish (1987). Plastic containers cut in half, fluorescent tube. Courtesy Laurent Delaye Gallery, London.