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The Australia Pavilion opens at the 55th International Art Exhibition –
la Biennale di Venezia

La Biennale di Venezia dates: 1 June 24 November 2013

La Biennale di Venezia Vernissage dates: 29 May 31 May 2013

The Australian Pavilion Official website:

Venice, Italy: The Australia Council today officially unveils the Australian representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition- la Biennale di Venezia. Situated in the Giardini della Biennale, the Australian Pavilion features a site-specific project by Simryn Gill.  Curated by Catherine de Zegher, Here art grows on trees continues Gill’s work with the passage of time and the habitation of places.

The artist works in the realm of the ephemeral and the domestic, with its daily habits and repetitions. Through her images and collections of objects, she brings into play her, and our, everyday experiences. Once formed, these works have the unexpected capacity to disturb our ideas of order. Be they books and words, landscapes of sublime power, or discarded objects of uncertain value, the different elements of her work exist in the present. In the words of the artist, These are ordinary things, yet they are indeterminate and open in their nature, and can be the hardest of things to describe clearly or grasp simply.

Simryn Gill’s terrain, says curator Catherine de Zegher, is the intertidal zone, the insecure in-between zone that shifting place on a beach where the ocean comes in, covering over shells and crabs, sandflies and sprouting mangroves, and bringing with it detritus of man-made goods down maritime trade routes, to then retreat again. Her work proposes a space of negotiation between the small and the global, between nature and industry, as it reveals an understanding of the interconnectedness of all in a world in flux.

As always, Gill’s work is precise and poignant. She considers the building’s structure, composed of two rectangular volumes alongside each other, each having a different height and floor level. The upper floor holds the series of twelve large screens of collaged drawings, Let Go, Let Go, and the lower section contains the series of mine photographs, Eyes and Storms. The roof is partially removed exposing both of these works in equal measures to the elements. Throughout the exhibition’s six month duration, visitors will experience a process of disintegration: the transformation of Gill’s artwork by sunlight, rain and wind, and by the birds and insects feeding on the paper which itself features insects.

Here, amidst the trees, Gill’s site-specific project  presents paper works as being of vegetation, as a cog in the whole system of turning wheels, as just a link in the chain, in the string of gems that the world is offeringa cyclic instead of linear world-view. Originating from pulp made of decayed plants, the works will slowly return to the vegetal in an organic cycle from foliage to folio to foliage. In short, her project is about entropy, the passage through time: paper’s passage, the work’s passage, the Pavilion’s passage, the artist’s passage, says de Zegher.

Rupert Myer AM, Chair of the Australia Council, says: In Here art grows on trees, Simryn Gill presents art that is disciplined and rigorous but also poetic, subtle and inclusive. Gill’s combination of works in various media use methodical collections and thoughtful interventions to transform the Australian Pavilion. I am delighted to offer our warmest congratulations to Simryn and extend our thanks for her commitment and endeavour in realising this ambitious project. Considered the most prestigious event on the contemporary art calendar, Venice is an unmatched opportunity to present our finest artists to the world. Simryn Gill continues a 60-year tradition of outstanding Australian representation at the Venice Biennale.

Simon Mordant AM, Australian Commissioner, says: It has been an enormous privilege to be Commissioner for Australia’s representation at the 2013 Venice Biennale. For this project, Simryn Gill blends the everyday elements of her practice for a powerful, almost radical result. The artist asks us to see her work as finite and impermanent. By literally peeling back the roof, she is setting in motion an exhibition which will evolve throughout the course of the six-month exhibition. Visitors will watch as it changes, registers the elements and transforms over time. What will be left is unknown. However, I have no doubt that it will leave a lasting impression on visitors. We are truly delighted that Simryn Gill is our representative for the 55th International Art exhibition.

A major new publication of Simryn Gill’s work, edited by Catherine de Zegher, was launched today in Venice. The publication features essays by Carol Armstrong, Lilian Chee, Ross Gibson, Kajri Jain, Brian Massumi, Michael Taussig and Catherine de Zegher.Simryn Gill is represented by Breenspace, Sydney; Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai; and Tracy Williams Ltd, New York.



Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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