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52nd Venice Biennale Opens Tomorrow

Australia’s largest ever contingent of artists and curators gets ready for the world’s biggest contemporary art exhibition, the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Artists and organisers are working around the clock to finalise preparations for the arrival of an expected 30,000 curators, collectors, gallery directors, artists and media from around the world during the Vernissage (preview period) from 7 June to 9 June.

This year’s Biennale boasts Australia’s largest participation with six artists and 19 curators, educators and arts professionals taking part in the prestigious event. Approximately 400 Australian art lovers, including donors and corporate supporters, are also in Venice and will join the Australian contingent at the preview and other special events.

A disused football field houses the largest project which artist Callum Morton has undertaken – a æ-scale replica of his family home. The Australian Pavilion is once again light and airy, its split-levels punctuated by Daniel von Sturmer’s video installation. Susan Norrie’s powerful three-room video installation transforms the historic Palazzo Giustinian.

Elsewhere in Venice, Biennale artistic director Robert Storr’s exhibition – Think with the SensesFeel with the Mind – opens to the public at The Arsenale on 10 June. The show features Australian Rosemary Laing’s politically charged photography To walk on a sea of salt; Shaun Gladwell’s new four-channel video installation Maddest Maximus; and conceptual artist Christian Capurro’s new work Vogue Hommes magazine that was completely erased by hand by approximately 260 people between 1999 and 2004.

Australia’s participation has captured the attention of media around the world. Influential German art magazine Monopol has named Callum Morton one of the five artists to watch at this year’s event and The Bulletin magazine has Callum in its Smart 100 list. Susan Norrie’s work is a feature in the prestigious UK art magazine ArtReview while L’uomo Vogue Italy has a special feature on all three artists in its Biennale preview.

Australian commissioner John Kaldor said: ‘It’s our aim in Venice to present outstanding examples of Australia’s rich and diverse contemporary art. We anticipate a very strong response to the artists’ work.’

Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said: ‘The Australia Council is proud to support such a strong and diverse Australian contingent at this year’s Venice Biennale.’

‘The Venice Biennale is an unrivalled opportunity to showcase Australia’s contemporary visual arts on the world stage. We hope all our ambassadors – the artists, curators, educators and arts professionals – will be enriched by the experience.’

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