Who will be present at the Australia Pavilion at Venice 2024?

As Juliana Engberg says in Kerry Gardner’s book, Australia at the Venice Biennale: ‘To participate in the Venice Biennale is to have the opportunity to enter into an environment of experimentation, competition of ideas, dialogue of forms and discovery of shared and divergent aesthetics – each pursuing a to express the feelings, the contexts and the problems of our time.’

The Venice Biennale, which brings together international stars and curatorial geniuses, not only offers a platform for critical expression and discussion, it is also a career reward increasingly linked to the profile and to commercial representation.

In 2017, ArtsHub reviewed past selections for the Australian Pavilion, identifying that the majority of artists are dominated by representation from two prominent Australian commercial galleries: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney and Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne.

A few months later that year, the Australian Council announced a new open call format which was introduced for the 2019 iteration, advocated by La Biennale di Venezia as a way to maintain the non-commercial nature of the event. .

The change also led to the replacement of the independent curator of the Australian pavilion, previously held by an art philanthropist, with an independent selection panel chaired by artist and 2007 Australian representative at the Venice Biennale, Callum Morton.

However, so far the open call has done little to tip the scales in terms of mainstream representation, with 2019’s Angelica Mestiti and this year’s Marco Fusinato coming from the Anna Gallery stable. Schwartz.

Lily: Ready to push back the public, Australia goes bold for Venice

And how well does our national pavilion reflect diversity and inclusiveness?

How the Venice Biennale is changing the game when it comes to gender

The Countess Report 2019 shows that the artists selected are overwhelmingly male – more than double the number of female artists, 25 to 12 (now 26 counting Fusinato) – and seven Indigenous artists have presented at the Australian Pavilion in Venice since 1954.

Encouragingly, women have made up 60% of the Australian Pavilion’s artist presentation over the past two decades, with 90% of curators being women. Note that this categorization refers to sex and gender interchangeably and does not consider non-binary, queer, trans, etc.

But after a few long years of incubation and rethinking the role that art and artists play post-lockdown, can we expect any surprising new voices to rise to the top of the pile, in the future?

Within the wider framework of the Venice Biennale, the artists and curators presented in the national pavilions also compete for the first prize, the Golden Lion for the best national pavilion.

Simone Leigh at the United States of America Pavilion, 59th Venice Biennale 2022. Photo: ArtsHub.

This year, it was awarded to artist Sonia Boyce and curator Emma Ridgway at the Great Britain Pavilion, an audio performance centered on the singing voices of black women.

Meanwhile, Simone Leigh made history as the first black woman to exhibit in the United States National Pavilion, while also winning the Golden Lion for her contribution to the major curated exhibit. The milk of dreams with its evocative clay sculptures and goddesses.

With a worldwide awakening against systematic racism and calls for decolonizing practices, it is clear that the Venice Biennale values ​​presentations that have social, cultural and political relevance, as well as highlighting national movements rooted in practices. sophisticated arts.

So, with the 59th Venice Biennale currently underway, the next big question is: who will take over to represent Australian art and take the world stage in 2024?

Open call for the Australia Pavilion

The Australia Council recently opened Stage One proposals to all Australian artists (citizens or permanent residents) to showcase their work at the Australian Pavilion in 2024.

The 2024 iteration holds particular significance, marking not only the 60th edition of the Venice Biennale (it’s over 127 years), but also 70 years of Australia’s representation at the international art event.

Artistic teams can be made up of multiple artists and curators or a single artist and curator, and will be judged by an independent panel of industry advisors to be announced later in the year along with successful second stage submissions. (i.e. the shortlist).

Australian Council President Robert Morgan said: “The Venice Biennale is a crucial platform for Australian artists to present ambitious and groundbreaking contemporary art that represents the richness and diversity of Australian cultural expression.”

On the Australia Council website, it is stated that the Council is looking for concept art that is:

  • ambitious creative
  • engaged in contemporary visual arts discourse and global conversations
  • sensitive to the architecture of the Australian pavilion, and
  • attentive to the public visiting the Venice Biennale

Although the selection criteria do not mention the level of establishment or the profile, past statistics show that institutional commitment and the best commercial representation will have an important weight in the selection.

The Australian Pavilion designed by Melbourne-based architecture studio Denton Corker Marshall opened as a permanent venue in 2015 and has since hosted Australia’s participation in the Venice Art Biennale and the Venice Biennale. architecture of Venice.

Located in the biennial gardens of the Giardini among 29 national pavilions, the architects described the venue as ? white box in a black box, ?

Successful artists representing Australia will receive a $100,000 grant to develop and create their work, and the curator(s) will receive a $50,000 grant to provide curatorial leadership and work with the Australian Council as exhibition producer.

The selected artistic team will be announced in early 2023.

Stage 1 EOIs close at 3:00 p.m. AEDT on October 11, 2022. For full guidelines and to apply, visit the Council of Australia website.

An information session will take place at 12:30 p.m. AEDT on September 26; to register.

Industry Opportunities

Additionally, industry development programs will be available for arts practitioners to learn from these major international events.

For the 59th Venice Biennale, two strands have been proposed: a hybrid online and in-person iteration of the Biennale Delegate Program and the Pavilion Watch Program (for Australian arts and culture workers based in the EU and UK).

Opportunities for the Venice sector in 2024 have yet to be announced.

Past exhibitors at the Australia Pavilion in Venice

  • 1988 Arthur Boyd (curator: Graxia Gunn)
  • 1990 Trevor Nickolls and Rover Thomas
  • 1993 Jenny Watson (Curator: Judy Annear)
  • 1995 Bill Henson (Curator: Isobel Crombie)
  • 1997 Judy Watson, Yvonne Koolmatrie and Emily Kngwarreye (Curators: Hetti Perkins, Brenda L Croft and Victoria Lynn)
  • 1999 Howard Arkley (curator: Timothy Morrell)
  • 2001 Lyndal Jones (Curator: John Barret-Lennard)
  • 2003 Patricia Piccinini (Curator: Linda Michael)
  • 2005 Ricky Swallow (Curator: Charlotte Day)
  • 2007 Callum Morton, Susan Norrie and Daniel von Sturmer
  • 2009 Shaun Gladwell, Vernon Ah Kee, Ken Yonetani, Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro (curator: Felicity Fenner)
  • 2011 Hany Armanious (Curator: Anne Ellegood)
  • 2013 Simryn Gill (Curator: Catherine de Zegher)
  • 2015 Fiona Margaret Hall (curator: Linda Michael)
  • 2017 Tracey Moffatt (Curator: Natalie King)

Selected by open call

  • 2019 Angelica Mesiti (Curator: Juliana Engberg)
  • 2022 Marco Fusinato (Curator: Alexie Glass-Kantor)
Back To Top