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The Australia Council for the Arts is calling for expressions of interest to represent Australia at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Proposals can come from individual artists or groups of artists*. Please note that you are not required to nominate a curator at this time.

Official national representation at the Venice Biennale 2007 will be concentrated in the Australian Pavilion exhibition. In addition, for 2007, other artists will also be considered for possible satellite presentations at other locations in Venice.

The artist/s representing Australia in 2007 will be required to work with the Venice project team to assist in the promotion and discussion of their practice and the 2007 presentations.

*In this context, ‘artist groups’ are groups of individual artists who join together informally to collaborate in the creation, development or presentation of work, as distinct from organisations.


Proposals are being sought from individual artists or artists groups who have had a significant exhibition history in Australia and internationally.

They must be Australian citizens or have permanent residency status.

The criteria for selection are the excellence and relevance of the artist/s’ work in the international context of the Venice Biennale 2007.

Applications will be considered from professional artists who have a demonstrated exhibiting career that includes:

  • evidence of artistic scope and practice at the highest and most innovative level
  • evidence of a sustained and developing artistic expression
  • significant solo exhibitions in Australia
  • significant participation in international exhibitions or events
  • a bibliography that includes serious commentaries by recognised writers
  • an established network of national and international colleagues, including artists and curators
  • evidence of an ability and willingness to liaise with audiences, media and financial supporters.

What to submit

A short proposal of your intended project for the Australian Pavilion in Venice should be included. As we are also considering presentations in other venues or locations, you may alternately propose a project that would not require the use of the Pavilion. In this case, you are encouraged to elaborate upon the proposal, and the nature of its presentation, in general rather than site-specific terms.

At this stage, only a brief proposal is sought. This should be no more than two A4 pages in length. At this time, please do not forward models or more elaborate proposals. Photographs and specifications of the Pavilion are available for download from the right-hand side of this page.

Please include a one-page CV and examples of work that best support your proposal. Work may be submitted in the following forms:

  • up to ten 35mm mounted slides; or
  • high-quality VHS video of up to 10 minutes; or
  • a CD-ROM, DVD or other digital system; or
  • other delivery system (this should be discussed with staff of the CPMD division).

Selection process

A selection process by a specialist panel will begin in April. The panel will be chaired by John Kaldor AM, Commissioner, Venice Biennale 2007 and other panel members will be confirmed shortly.

We will make the final selection of the artist/s and exhibition in April/May 2006.


Expressions of interest must be received or postmarked not later than 21 April 2006. Late responses and faxed or emailed proposals will not be accepted.


Any enquiries regarding the submission of applications should be directed in the first instance to:

Sophie O’Brien
Coordinating Curator and Exhibitions Manager
Tel: 02 9215 9153
Fax: 02 9215 9074

Background to Australian participation at the Venice Biennale

The Venice Biennale is arguably the most important event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar. Thousands of the world’s most influential artists, curators, critics and collectors visit the Biennale, with considerable discussion and commentary in the arts and general media as a result.

The Biennale event includes a range of exhibitions and related activities. These include a major exhibition (to be curated by Robert Storr in 2007), the national pavilion exhibitions (selected by the individual participating country), thematic exhibitions, special off-site projects, and an umbrella program.

The Biennale exhibitions will be on display to the public from early June to early November 2007. In 2005 approximately 70 countries presented 30 exhibitions in the pavilions of the Giardini (Biennale gardens) and 40 in venues around the city centre. Thirty collateral events included exhibitions, performances and seminars.

Between 12 June and 6 November 2005, the Australian Pavilion had 186,700 visitors, which was an increase from 2003 of 20,605 visitors. The Vernissage (or professional preview) takes place for 3-4 days in early June. In 2005 it attracted 33,000 international artists, gallery owners, collectors, and curators and 4660 accredited journalists from 57 countries.

The Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian government’s arts funding and advisory body, has funded and managed Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale for more than 25 years. The quality and profile of the chosen exhibition for the Australian Pavilion is of great significance to Australia, and it is an important opportunity to showcase to an international audience the best contemporary art Australia has to offer.

For Venice Biennale in 2007, John Kaldor AM has again been appointed Commissioner for the Australian exhibition, Rebecca Matthews is the Project Director, Anna Waldmann is the Project Advisor and Sophie O’Brien the Coordinating Curator and Exhibitions Manager. Other members of the full Venice project team will be advised shortly. The Venice project team holds regular meetings to discuss all aspects of the project during its development and progress.

A significant budget is set towards the Venice project that includes the development and realisation of the exhibition, marketing, publicity, related education programs, donor and sponsor functions, and events in Australia and Venice. In 2005, the budget also covered special costs for the extensive refurbishment and ongoing maintenance of the Pavilion.

For 2007, Artsupport Australia will again work with the Commissioner and Venice project team to raise additional funds for the exhibition. In 2005 UBS, Maddocks, Arts Victoria, Art & Australia and Arts WA plus more than 75 donors provided substantial funds towards the exhibition and affiliated programs. As in 2005, Commissioner John Kaldor will bring together a group of key contemporary visual arts supporters to form a Commissioner’s Council.

A program of focused events will be developed by Council to specifically target key international media, curators, critics and artists during the lead up to the opening and during the critical Vernissage period. Events may include Australian media events, donor and sponsor functions, staff briefings, a media call, official opening, and events for international directors, curators and collectors. As in 2005, a special sponsor and donor events program in Venice is also planned.

A publicity campaign targets key national and international arts, specialised and general news media. Interviews, feature articles, photo shoots and profiles are placed in press and electronic media. A range of marketing materials are developed for the project including a website, exhibition catalogue, marketing materials and media kits.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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