Australian Pavilion opens at la Biennale di Venezia

Here art grows on treesThe Australia Council has officially unveiled the Australian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition- la Biennale di Venezia. Situated in the Giardini della Biennale, the Australian Pavilion features a site-specific project by Simryn Gill. Curated by Catherine de Zegher, Here art grows on trees continues Gill’s work with the passage of time and the habitation of places.

The artist 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 words of the artist, “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 curator 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.”

As always, Gill’s work is precise and poignant. She considers the building’s structure, composed of two rectangular volumes alongside each other, each having a different height and floor level. The upper floor holds the series of twelve large screens of collaged drawings, Let Go, Let Go, and the lower section contains the series of mine photographs, Eyes and Storms.

The roof is partially removed exposing both of these works in equal measures to the elements. Throughout the exhibition’s six month duration, visitors will experience a process of disintegration: the transformation of Gill’s artwork by sunlight, rain and wind, and by the birds and insects feeding on the paper which itself features insects.

Curator Catherine de Zegher says “Here, amidst the trees, Gill’s site-specific project presents paper works as being of vegetation, as a cog in the whole system of turning wheels, as just a link in the chain, in the string of gems that the world is offering—a cyclic instead of linear world-view.”

“Originating from pulp made of decayed plants, the works will slowly return to the vegetal in an organic cycle from foliage to folio to foliage. In short, her project is about entropy, the passage through time: paper’s passage, the work’s passage, the Pavilion’s passage, the artist’s passage.”

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Image: Here art grows on trees