Venice Biennale 2017 palazzo image courtesy of the International Curators Forum

As the most prestigious event in the art calendar opens in Italy, we round up UAL’s Venice Biennale 2017 highlights.

Image of Kimathi Donkor's painting titled Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete. Caption: Kimathi Donkor, ‘Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete’, oil paints on linen, 136 x 183 cm (2004). Image courtesy of the artist.

Diaspora Pavilion
UAL has partnered with the International Curators Forum with the support of Arts Council England, to present Diaspora Platform and Beyond the Frame, designed to deliver 22 months of mentoring and professional development by twenty selected mentors. Twenty emerging British artists and curators from racially and culturally diverse backgrounds will be selected for involvement. During this time the artists will produce works that will be showcased in the Diaspora Platform exhibition at the Palazzo Pisani a Santa Marina during the time of the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. Curated by ICF Director, David A. Bailey it will be the first of its kind. Partners for Beyond the frame include Iniva, New Art Exchange and Liverpool Biennial. Diaspora Platform is co-directed by Mark Crawley (UAL), David A. Bailey (ICF), Nicola Green and Peter Clayton.

In 2006 Turning Point Research revealed that less than 5% of the visual arts workforce was from diverse backgrounds and in 2015 the Warwick Commission concluded that the voices, experiences and talents of England’s population as a whole are not being expressed, represented or developed within the cultural and creative industries.

The Diaspora Platform and Beyond the Frame projects are dedicated to creating a sustainable, long term, network for arts practitioners from culturally and racially diverse backgrounds. The initiative aims to create cross-generational connections and professional development through its mentorship programme, of which, for the artists, the culmination will be the seven month exhibition during the 57th Venice Biennale. This will be succeeded by a seven month programme of follow up workshops and exhibitions. Although Diaspora Platform and Beyond the Frame are initially programmed over a 22 month period, the aim is to continue on and repeat the process in subsequent years around the world.

Read more about the Diaspora Pavilion

Image of Sokari Douglas Camp's work titled All the world is now richer. Caption: Sokari Douglas Camp. 'All the world is now richer’. Image courtesy of the artist

Representing Britain 
“It is really exciting and extraordinary to be asked to do it … just astonishing.” says Chelsea graduate Phyllida Barlow of being selected to represent Great Britain at the Biennale. The artist told The Guardian “It’s strange for artists like myself, and there are a lot of us around, who have done adventurous things on our own steam, taken works to remote places and not known there would be an audience and not worried about it. Now to be offered these places is extraordinary.”

 Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Phyllida received an honorary fellowship from UAL in 2016. Phyllida Barlow’s British Council commission is at the Biennale Arte 2017 from 13 May to 26 November – read more at www.britishcouncil.org/venicebiennale

Read more about Phyllida Barlow at the Venice Biennale

Representing Croatia
Camberwell BA Painting tutor Tina Gverović will be jointly representing Croatia alongside Marko Tadić; ArtForum reports that “the exhibition, “Horizon Expectations,” will present new works by the artists that focus on the temporary nature of the exhibition space and on notions of “uncertainty, tension, and collapse.” The title was derived from literary historian Hans Robert Jauss’s theory of reception. Jauss argued that literary works are received against an existing horizon of expectations consisting of readers’ current knowledge and presuppositions about literature. As horizons shift, so does the meaning of the works.”

Read more about Tina Gverović at the Venice Biennale

Representing Wales
Turner Prize nominee and Chelsea graduate James Richards will be representing Wales in Venice. The BBC report that “Richards will work with Cardiff’s Chapter arts centre to create an installation in a former convent on the banks of one of Venice’s famous canals.” The artist told the BBC: “It’s really exciting, it’s a real honour. It’s always touching when people nominate you for something, particularly this. I grew up around the corner from Chapter so a lot of my first experiences with art were there, so it was a very exciting invitation.”

Read more about James Richards at the Venice Biennale

Laura Malacart, Speak Robert, at the Artists Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017, courtesy of Artquest Venice Biennale 2017 highlights
The Artists Pavilion
Artquest’s The Artists Pavilion will show the newly commissioned work, ‘Speak Robert’ by Italian-born London based artist Laura Malacart. It takes the form of an installation and a series of language workshops. The project shows and performs the idea that globalisation is rewriting the legacy of post-colonialism and to an extent re-enacting it. Malacart utilizes a narrative around the Scottish botanist Robert Fortune (1812-1880), the East India Company and the American actor Matt Damon starring in the Chinese blockbuster The Great Wall of China (2017).

Malacart’s collaborative and interdisciplinary work is concerned with language and the politics of the voice. Her practice engages with a range of media, including participatory performance, writing and video. These strategies explore contemporary issues concerning identities in a globalised post-colonial world. They conceive the speaking and listening subject, their positioning and idiom, crucial to define a historical and ideological perspective or its absence.

Speaking Robert, 2017, Laura Malacart - Video Still Image courtesy the artist Venice Biennale 2017 highlights

This year’s pavilion is curated by Camilla Palestra and is accompanied by a programme of talks and events addressing issues of cultural identity within a global economy, dislocation and language.

As part of Artquest’s commitment to supporting students and graduates in gaining experience of the art sector, the events programme is curated in collaboration University of the Arts London students Annie-Marie Akussah, Riah Charles, Rachel Hinman, Ciara McNeill, Josh Simpson. This aspect of the project is funded by UAL’s Careers and Employability programme, which aims to promote equality on grounds of ethnicity, disability and social class, funded through Widening Participation.

The Pavilion of Humanity
The Guardian features Chelsea-trained artist Michal Cole’s exhibit in this year’s Pavilion of Humanity, which is supported by UAL. Cole’s work is a revolt against the global patriarchy.  Read more on The Guardian

UAL Recruitment in Venice
During the Biennale UAL has two recruitment information sessions, one for UG and one for PG, as well as three special talks from Wendy Anderson (Fine Art at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon), Wiebke Leister (Writing photographs, LCC) and Max Houghton (The Documentary Photographic Image, LCC). In addition, Jason Clapperton and Lyn Farenden from LCF will be in Venice to speak to prospective students.
Find out more about UAL recruitment activity at the Biennale 

Future Generation Art Prize
The Telegraph report on the Future Generation Art Price Venice which includes CSM Foundation and PG Dip Character Animation graduate Phoebe Boswell. Read more on The Telegraph

British Council Steward-Research Scholarships
The British Council invited applications for Steward-Research Scholarships to take place during the Venice Art Biennale 2017, two of which were successfully won by CSM BA Fine Art Students Elizabeth Jenner and Nisha Desai. The pair will spend 31 days in Venice working with the British Pavilion and also researching around the theme, Viva Arte Viva.

Speaking in Tongues
LCF research fellow for exhibitions James Putnam has curated two projects at the the Biennale – Speaking in Tongues and Collection. Read more about Speaking in Tongues on the Financial Times

The 57th Venice Biennale runs 13 May – 26 November 2017. Read more about the Venice Biennale

 

Image credits
Venice Biennale 2017 Image of Palazzo courtesey of the International Curators Forum
Image of Kimathi Donkor’s painting titled Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete. Caption:  Kimathi Donkor,  ‘Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete’, oil paints on linen, 136 x 183 cm (2004). Image courtesy of the artist.
Image of Sokari Douglas Camp’s work titled All the world is now richer. Caption: Sokari Douglas Camp. ‘All the world is now richer’. Image courtesy of the artist.
Kimathi Donkor.jpg – Image of Kimathi Donkor’s painting titled Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete. Caption: Kimathi Donkor, ‘Toussaint L’Ouverture at Bedourete’, oil paints on linen, 136 x 183 cm (2004). Image courtesy of the artist.
Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Laura Malacart, Speak Robert, at the Artists Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017, courtesy of Artquest