Culture Ireland have announced the appointment of Emily-Jane Kirwan as Commissioner for Ireland at the 54th Venice Biennale International Arts Exhibition in 2011. Working with curator Eamonn Maxwell, Ms Kirwan will present the work of Irish artist Corban Walker. Currently based in New York, Corban Walker is acclaimed for his installations and sculptures that utilise industrial materials such as aluminium and steel and for his striking glass works and drawings that relate to perceptions of scale and architectural constructs.
The selection of the Commissioner was made following an open call by Culture Ireland, which manages Ireland’s representation at Venice, in partnership with the Arts Council. The International Arts Exhibition in Venice - La Biennale di Venezia- has been long regarded as the foremost showcase for visual arts in the world and the open call for the post of Irish Commissioner received an extremely high level of interest from the visual arts sector. This is a further indicator of the importance of the Venice Biennale as the leading global showcase for visual arts.
Eugene Downes, Chief Executive of Culture Ireland, commented on the selection: "The number of strong bids for Venice 2011 reflects the strength of the Irish visual arts sector. This is an impressive team with extensive international experience, and we are delighted that Ireland will be presenting an artist of Corban’s calibre in Venice next year."
Claire Doyle, Head of Visual Arts and Architecture, the Arts Council said: "The Venice Biennale provides our visual artists with an opportunity to platform their work in front of the most important curators, critics and gallerists in the world. We believe this international exposure is critical to the artistic progression of our country’s visual artists. We are proud to be associated with this team, who will represent the quality of our artists and arts practitioners to an international audience. "
On her selection as Irish Commissioner for Venice, Emily-Jane Kirwan commented: "It is a great honour to have been selected as the Commissioner. Having worked on projects with Corban Walker for many years in both Ireland and the United States, I am thrilled that he will represent Ireland at such a prestigious international event."
Of his selection, Corban Walker is quoted as saying, "I am honoured to represent Ireland at the next Venice Biennale and look forward to the challenge of presenting a body of work that deals with architectural scale in a city known for its incredible architecture."
Irish artists exhibiting at Venice have consistently been very well received with subsequent invitations for them to present their work at a range of prestigious and important international galleries and shows. The team selected to represent Ireland in 2011 share significant international experience and it is anticipated that they will be well positioned to benefit from the international platform and opportunities unique to the Biennale.