Australian Pavilion – 55th Biennale di Venezia. June 1st – November 24th 2013

Australian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale
May 24, 2013 12:32AM

The Australian Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia will feature a new body of work by artist Simryn Gill, Here art grows on trees.

Sydney, Australia: The official Australian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition comprises an exhibition of new works by Simryn Gill and is curated by Catherine de Zegher.

Simryn Gill works in the realm of the ephemeral and the domestic, with its daily habits and repetitions. Through her images and collections of objects, she brings into play her, and our, everyday experiences. Once formed, these works have the unexpected capacity to disturb our ideas of order. Be they books and words, landscapes of sublime power, or discarded objects of uncertain value, the different elements of her work exist in the present. In the artist’s words, “These are ordinary things, yet they are indeterminate and open in their nature, and can be the hardest of things to describe clearly or grasp simply.”

“Simryn Gill’s terrain,” says Catherine de Zegher, “is the intertidal zone, the insecure in-between zone—that shifting place on a beach where the ocean comes in, covering over shells and crabs, sandflies and sprouting mangroves, and bringing with it detritus of man-made goods down maritime trade routes, to then retreat again. Her work proposes a space of negotiation between the small and the global, between nature and industry, as it reveals an understanding of the interconnectedness of all in a world in flux.”

Simryn Gill is the 36th official artist selected by a panel of visual arts industry leaders to present an exhibition in the Australian Pavilion. “The Australia Council has managed Australia’s participation at the Venice Biennale for more than 30 years,” says Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council. “Simryn Gill is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist and continues a tradition of outstanding Australian representation.”

“The Australia Council is delighted to present Simryn Gill at the 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice,” says Australian Commissioner Simon Mordant AM. “Visitors will be intrigued by the way Simryn has engaged with the Australian Pavilion. In Here art grows on trees Simryn blends the everyday elements of her practice for a powerful, almost radical result. Whilst we are not ready to reveal the content, I know it will be of great interest.”

A major new publication of Simryn Gill’s work, edited by Catherine de Zegher, will be launched at the vernissage, featuring essays by Carol Armstrong, Lilian Chee, Ross Gibson, Kajri Jain, Brian Massumi, Michael Taussig and Catherine de Zegher. 

About the Artist

Simryn Gill lives and works in Sydney, Australia, and Port Dickson, Malaysia. Gill has exhibited widely, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Tate Modern, London; and The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington DC. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently a new commission for documenta 13 (2012) in Kassel, Germany. Gill is represented by Breenspace, Sydney; Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai; and Tracy Williams Ltd, New York.

About the Curator

Catherine de Zegher is currently the Curator for the forthcoming 5th Moscow Biennale (2013). She was previously co-Artistic Director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney (all our relations) in 2012, the same year she won two international critics awards for her book and exhibition On Line. Drawing Through the Twentieth Century at MoMA, where she was a guest curator in the Department of Drawing. Prior to this, de Zegher held various positions in Europe and North America, notably as the Executive Director of the Drawing Center in New York City and the Belgian Commissioner for the 47th Venice Biennale. De Zegher has written and edited numerous books on drawing and feminism and is currently working on a collection of her published essays.

About the Commissioner

Simon Mordant AM is Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Greenhill & Co. Inc., a leading global independent corporate advisory firm. He is a committed and passionate supporter of the arts. Mordant has served as Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (MCA) since 2010, having also served previously as Chairman of the Museum’s Foundation. Mordant also sits on the Board of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), the Sydney Theatre Company, the Leadership Council for the New Museum in New York, and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tate International Council and a member of the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

About the Australia Council

As the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, the Australia Council has managed and funded Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale since 1978. The Australia Council is committed to building opportunities for the international presentation and collection of Australian contemporary art, and representation at the Biennale is an important part of this strategy. Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale has contributed to the professional development of many artists and has opened up significant exhibition opportunities internationally.

About the Australian Pavilion

The Australian Pavilion is positioned within the Biennale Gardens (Giardini della Biennale). The pavilion is one of 29 pavilions within the Biennale Gardens, all built at different periods by various countries. The Australian Pavilion was designed by renowned Australian architect Philip Cox and opened in 1988. Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale began in 1954 with an exhibition of Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale and William Dobell’s iconic works, followed by visual arts luminaries such as Arthur Boyd, Rosalie Gascoigne and Albert Tucker. Other previous Australian representatives include Imants Tillers (1986), Judy Watson, Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1997), Howard Arkley (1999), Patricia Piccinini (2003), Ricky Swallow (2005), Susan Norrie, Daniel Von Sturmer and Callum Morton (2007), Shaun Gladwell (2009) and Hany Armanious (2011).

Australian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale