Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., is in Venice today to open the Irish exhibition at the 54th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, the most important visual arts showcase in the world. Ireland is represented in Venice by the artist Corban Walker, working with commissioner Emily-Jane Kirwan and curator Eamonn Maxwell. Ireland’s participation at the Venice Biennale is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. The Venice Biennale is the most important international showcase for visual arts with more than 400,000 visitors in 2009. Walker will present three new, site-specific sculptural installations at the Irish Pavilion, which is located at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà. Following the launch today, the exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday 4 June until Sunday 27 November, 2011.
Speaking at the opening of the Irish Pavilion, which was hosted by the Irish Embassy in Venice, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., commented: "The Biennale represents an immense opportunity to present work at the world's leading visual arts showcase and to gain international exposure to high profile curators and collectors. The work of Irish artist, Corban Walker stands proudly alongside that of many of other international artists in Venice and will attract attention to the depth, strength and outstanding talent of Irish visual artists."
Walker is known for his sculptures and installations relating to architectural scale and spatial perception and utilising industrial materials like steel, aluminium, and glass. At the height of four-feet, the artist’s personal relationship between self and the built environment is fundamental to the way he defines and develops his work. Walker's work at the Irish Pavilion has been conceived to interact with the historic architecture of the Pietà. The main sculptural piece Please Adjust comprises over 160 interlocking stainless steel cubes and this will create a central focus to the interior. The other two works Transparent Wall and Modular consist of vinyl "drawings" mapped onto the front and back windows of the space according to mathematic modulars.
The first Ireland at Venice App for iPhone, iPad and the Android Market is available to download free at Corban Walker: Ireland at Venice 2011. Culture Ireland also launched a new website [www.irelandvenice.ie] to mark this year's exhibition which includes an extensive archive of Ireland's representation to date at the Venice Biennale. Exhibition partners for Ireland at the 54th International Art Exhibition are the American Ireland Fund, Crawford College of Art and Design, Lismore Castle Arts and the Pace Gallery.
Ireland's presence at Venice this year extends beyond the national pavilion to include work by Gerard Byrne, who previously represented Ireland at Venice in 2007. Minister Deenihan congratulated Mr. Byrne on his selection by the Director of the Biennale to participate in the main exhibition this year, which is made possible with support from Culture Ireland and the Arts Council.