Pelham Picks in Venice

Pelham Picks at the 57th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia.


Phyllida Barlow at the British Pavilion



The British Council will present an ambitious sculptural installation by Phyllida Barlow commissioned and created for the British Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. Commenting on the exhibition, Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion and Director Visual Arts at the British Council, said: “Phyllida Barlow has chosen to make a body of work that boldly responds to Venice, to the context of the Biennale and in particular to the Pavilion itself..”


Barlow’s extensive series of new works expands across the entire site of the British Pavilion. Works are placed outside the building, spaces inside are bisected and disrupted, while other works reach up high into the roof and can only be glimpsed from below.


On view: 13 May – 26 November 2017 at the Giardini di Castello


Theatrum Orbis at the Russian Pavilion



Theatrum Orbis, a new exhibition conceived and created for the Russian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, features artists Grisha Bruskin, Recycle Group and Sasha Pirogova alongside contemporary Russian composers. 


Theatrical in its concept and form, the exhibition includes sculpture, installation, video and sound across three emotively connected parts. While Bruskin represents a long-established generation of Russian artists, Recycle Group and Pirogova come from a new post-digital era engaged with technology.


Music and sound plays a very important role in the exhibition, with specially written scores by Dimitri Kourdlianski, Peter Aidu and Konstantin Dudakov-Kashuro. For the first time sound is not constrained by the walls of the pavilion, but is taken out into the Giardini, establishing a dialogue with the viewer through Dmitri Kourliandski’s sound performance “Commedia delle arti”.


Inauguration ceremony: Wednesday, 10 May, 3pm at the Giardini


The Absence of Paths at the Tunisian Pavilion



The Absence of Paths, Tunisia’s first national pavilion since 1958, challenges the contemporary political order through an interactive performance that inspires further inquiry into issues surrounding human migration. Curated by Lina Lazaar and commissioned by The Presidency of the Tunisian Republic and the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the exhibition uses performance and installation staged in different venues across Venice.


Manned by collaborating individuals with firsthand experience on migration, several spaces will issue imitation travel documents to visitors. The pavilion is largely inspired by Tunisia's use as a migratory launch pad into Europe, and is atypical for a pavilion in its physical manifestation.


On view: 13th May - 26th November 2017, kiosk on via Garibaldi; Navy checkpoint in the Arsenale and Sale D’armi in the Arsenale


The Aalto Natives at the Finnish Pavilion



Pavilion of Finland will present The Aalto Natives, a collaboration between artists Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Individually known for their irreverent and often comedic story-driven work, Mellors and Nissinen focus on various clichés surrounding Finnish history and national identity for The Aalto Natives.


Within this narrative framework, Mellors and Nissinen playfully critique religion and the nature of human existence, to reveal the systemic flaws at the heart of cultures dominated by rationalism and the fetishization of progress.



On Kawara's One Million Years (Reading)



On Kawara’s One Million Years (Reading) is an installation taking place at the Venice Biennale 2017 between 9 May and 30 July.  It involves volunteers gathered from Italy and beyond reading from One Million Years, two sets of volumes produced by the artist that list dates one million years into the future and one million years into the past. 


The readings are spoken in English alternating between a male and female narrator, each date followed by the next.  The readers are drawn from local residents, visitors to the Biennale and other tourists who have the opportunity to volunteer for sessions of either 60 or 120 minutes. 


On view: 9 May – 30 July 2017, Oratorio di San Ludovico


K11 Art Foundation presents Liang Yuanwei: Behind the Curtain



The K11 Art Foundation (KAF) will present a project coinciding with the 57th Biennale di Venezia - Behind the Curtain. The new exhibition of work by Liang Yuanwei, one of China’s influential names in contemporary art, is curated by Loï c Le Gall, Assistant Curator at Centre Pompidou. Liang Yuanwei represented China in the 54th Biennale di Venezia in 2011.


The title of the exhibition, Behind the Curtain, alludes to the operatic traditions of both China and Europe, a stage curtain often being a work of art in its own right but also revealing a reality behind it. Behind the Curtain is an homage to Venice and the Teatro La Fenice, as well as the carnival during which participants wander masked throughout the city. The exhibition title, Behind the Curtain also references the exhibition’s revelation of Liang Yuanwei’s intimate artistic practice.


Visitors to Venice’s Palazzo Pisani will see a selection of Liang’s impressive oil paintings, products of her attempt to perfectly imitate the detailed textures of fabrics. The works on show also can be read in reference to questions of seriality and reproducibility which are engaged in more explicitly conceptual contemporary art.


Opening reception: Thursday, 11 May, 6-8pm at the Palazzo Pisani


The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art 



The official reception celebrating the announcement of the inaugural edition will take place on the 9th May 2017 at
The Nasher Sculpture Garden in Venice.


The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA), forthcoming in June 2018, is an international biennial with a European focus and a strong regional profile, founded in 2016. Taking the rich history of Riga and the Baltic states as its underlying framework, the Biennial highlights the artistic landscape of the wider region and creates opportunities for artists to enter into dialogue with the cultural, historical and socio-political context of the city and its geographic surrounds.


Reception: Tuesday, 9th May, 6.30– 8.30pm