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The Venice Biennale runs from 7 June to 22 November 2009, where Australia will be represented by video works from Shaun Gladwell and Once Removed, a curated exhibition from four early career artists.

Shaun Gladwell will present his captivating MADDESTMAXIMVS at the Australian Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini della Biennale. MADDESTMAXIMVS is a compelling suite of five thematically interrelated videos with sculptural and photographic elements, influenced by outback Australian landscapes and the iconic Mad Max movies.

Shaun’s exciting works blend contemporary urban culture and personal history through video, painting, sculpture and performance. He was one of three Australian artists selected to participate in the Think with the Senses Feel with the Mind exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2007. His works have been shown in major national and international exhibitions, including the Sao Paulo, Busan, Taipei and Sydney biennales and Yokohama triennale. He has undertaken residencies and commissions in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and was awarded an Australia Council fellowship in 2006.

Also representing Australia at the Venice Biennale 2009 will be four early career artists in the Once Removed exhibition at the Ludoteca in the Castello district. Curated by Felicity Fenner, Once Removed will feature a series of installations brought together by themes of Aboriginality, environment and displacement. The works presented are Indigenous artist Vernon Ah Kee’s Cant Chant (Wegrewhere), Australian-based Japanese artist Ken Yonetani’s Sweet Barrier Reef, and Life Span by collaborators Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro.

Doug Hall AM, Commissioner for the Australian delegation at the Venice Biennale, said that the nation was putting its best creative foot forward at the event.

‘The Australian presence at the Venice Biennale 2009 will showcase some of the most exciting artists to emerge from Australia’s contemporary art scene in the last decade. Their urban, Indigenous, political and culturally diverse styles show sides of Australia that that many international observers may not have seen. They represent the new face of Australian contemporary art,’ said Mr Hall.

The Australia Council for the Arts has managed and funded Australia’s representation for more than 30 years. Past Australian representatives have included Sir Sydney Nolan (1954), Imants Tillers (1986), Arthur Boyd (1988), Judy Watson, Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1997), Howard Arkley (1999), Patricia Piccinini (2003), Ricky Swallow (2005), Susan Norrie, Daniel Von Sturmer and Callum Morton (2007).

The farewell event was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, featuring presentations by Shaun Gladwell, Doug Hall AM, Australia Council Chairman James Strong AO and Neil Balnaves from The Balnaves Foundation.

Media enquiries:

Victoria McClelland-Fletcher, Communication Adviser

Tel 02 9215 9008 or 0409 223 719



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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