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New Australian Pavilion opened at the Venice Biennale

New Australian Pavilion opened at the Venice Biennale
May 7, 2015

The new Denton Corker Marshall designed Australian Pavilion in Venice’s historic Biennale precinct has been opened.

Built with a $1 million contribution from the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, and a staggering $6.5million in donations from over 80 private Australian benefactors, the new Australian Pavilion was built to replace a temporary exhibition space designed by Philip Cox and shipped to Venice in 1988. The first 21st century pavilion to be built in the Biennale precinct is a two level concrete and steel structure, clad in granite, designed as a white box within a black box.

Commenting on the new Pavilion, Australian Commissioner and lead donor for the new pavilion Simon Mordant stated  “(this is) a new chapter in the history of the national pavilions in Venice, with this new contemporary pavilion.”

Mordant, who contributed $2million towards the project with his wife Catriona Mordant, said a strong vision for the new Australian Pavilion has been realised with the Denton Corker Marshall design.

He added “we asked for a building that was distinctive…durable, resilient, and breathtakingly simple. It was key that artists could claim the space. The architects have delivered this brief perfectly.”

Pavilion donor Cate Blanchett, who opened the 2005 Australian exhibition on the site of the Australian Pavilion, spoke on behalf of over 80 families who supported the project.

Blanchett commented “this bold building speaks to Australia’s cultural ambition. It reflects not how the world may see Australia, but how many Australians see ourselves, as a modern, forward looking nation.”

Blanchett congratulated the Australia Council for the Arts and the architects on realising a new home for Australia in Venice, adding “the Venice Biennale is a place to engage in the international dialogue and to contribute to the conversations and trends of our time.

“Many Australians have supported this project because they believe, like I, that art is important to our future.”

For the past three decades Australia’s presentations at the Venice Biennale has been supported and managed by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Australia Council Chair, Rupert Myer thanked the Australian Government and individual donors for their support, concluding “this is a significant part of Australia's arts infrastructure which directly faces international audiences and some of the world's most influential artists, writers, curators, collectors and gallerists.

“This building gives greater visibility to our current and future generations of artists, and amplification to their ideas and motivations.”

Renowned Australian artist Fiona Hall has inaugurated the new pavilion with her exhibition Wrong Way Time.

The Venice Biennale is widely considered to be the most prestigious and important event on the international contemporary arts calendar, and Australia holds one of only 29 coveted permanent sites in the renowned Venice Biennale exhibition gardens.

Image shows (from left): Australia Council Chief Executive Tony Grybowski, Rupert Myer and Simon Mordant outside the new Pavilion.

Related Articles

10th March 2015 - Australia Council announces 2015 award recipients

18th August 2014 - Australia Council’s strategy for a culturally ambitious nation

14th August 2013 - Art exhibitions draw bigger crowds than footy

14th March 2013 - Australia Council receives major funding boost under National Cultural Policy

29th October 2012 - Arts, Culture and Sport to be unifiers with Asia

25th June 2012 - New Chair and Deputy Chair for Australia Council

25th January 2012 - Blanchett, Upton to leave Sydney Theatre Company

15th December 2011 - AEG Ogden to manage Pavilion at 2012 World Expo

16th March 2011 - Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton call for a bold, creative Sydney

3rd May 2010 - China Celebrates Shanghai World Expo Opening


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