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RICKY SWALLOW WINS HEARTS AT VENICE

More than 15,500 international arts curators and critics have seen the exquisite works of Ricky Swallow in the first four days at the Venice Biennale. A record 5,000 people attended on the third day of the preview.

David Jaffe, senior curator at the National Gallery in London said: ‘The magic of Ricky is how he can track a fish fin or the seam of a beanbag to animate the forms and vitalise them to communicate with us. He changes our relationship with the everyday and so enriches us.’

Carolyn Christov’Bakargiev, chief curator, Castello di Rivoli in Turin said: ‘It is rewarding and at the same time intriguing to see how his sculpture is informed by the physicality of the object, the extraordinary skills of crafting it, all within a striking conceptual framework.’

His exhibition of six new and recent sculptures ‘This Time Another Year’ was officially opened by acclaimed Australian actor Cate Blanchett on Thursday 9 June, who said: ‘In the sculptures of Ricky Swallow excellence certainly shines-this is visceral stuff – blood, guts, death, the theatre of display, the pivot point between bloom and decay.’

After the first days of the exhibition, Mr Swallow said: ‘The feedback from people has been amazing. To have finished the work and handed it over to such an appreciative audience is the ultimate reward.’

Australian Commissioner John Kaldor said:  ‘Our selection of Ricky, has been affirmed, with Vicente Todoli, director of Tate Modern, and Philip Rylands, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum impressed with his work.

Davide Croff, president of the Venice Biennale, congratulated Ricky at the official opening of our pavilion. I extend my appreciation to Ricky Swallow, curator Charlotte Day and the Australia Council team whose hard work made this success possible.’ Jennifer Bott, CEO of the Australia Council said: ‘Our warmest congratulations go to Ricky and Charlotte for presenting a stunning exhibition of work that is both compelling and subtle. It is work that demands a personal response and demonstrates artistry of the highest level.’

The exhibition will tour to PS1, an affiliate of MOMA in New York, in January 2006. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the world’s oldest and most important critical forum for contemporary visual arts and is open to the public from 12 June to 6 November 2005.

The Australia Council, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, has managed and funded Australian representation at the Biennale since 1954 and has featured artists such as Judy Watson, Bill Henson, Howard Arkley, Lyndal Jones and Patricia Piccinini.

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