While the big boats battled it out in Valencia, artists, curators and supporters launched New Zealand’s cheeky unofficial, portable and pocketable pavilion in Venice for the 52nd Biennale of Contemporary Art: Speculation. Floating into Venice almost as improbably as icebergs drifted past the Otago coast last year, this book-bound pavilion of 30 artists selected by 8 curators speculated on what might be, asking “which New Zealand artists now or in the future could be sent to the Venice Biennale and exhibit in the New Zealand pavilion?”
In rain one day and blistering sun the next, the Speculation hawkers camped out under a lavalava erected by artist Ani O’Neill between the Arsenale and Giardini, and then in the Giardini at the Danish pavilion. 2,400 copies flew out of their hands in Venice and a further 100 at Art Basel, documenta XII (Kassel) and skulptur projekte münster.
Venice is known and loved for its heavenly slow food Osteria: tiny restaurants and tapas bars that are worth getting lost several times to find. So it was only fitting with a pocket-sized pavilion that the Kiwis should host a broad cross-section of international artists, curators and directors in the relaxed ambience of one of these: Bancogiro, near Rialto Bridge.
In a year where the lack of an official New Zealand pavilion was on many people’s minds, Speculation took an ingenious and provocative stand. When asked “where is New Zealand’s pavilion?” the Kiwi crew could answer as they handed over the book, “Here it is!”
“That’s one beautiful book! We love Nuova Zealandia.”
Speculation is available at art bookshops nationwide and online.
The above text was previously published in Art News New Zealand, Spring 2007, p56.
Andrew Barber, Andrew McLeod, Ani O'Neill, Bill Culbert, Bill Hammond, Billy Apple, Dane Mitchell, Daniel Malone, Eve Armstrong, Fiona Amundsen, Francis Upritchard, Jae Hoon Lee, Jim Speers, John Reynolds, Judy Darragh, Judy Millar, Julian Dashper, Maddie Leach, Michael Parekowhai, Mladen Bizumic, Peter Robinson, Rohan Wealleans, Ronnie van Hout, Saskia Leek, Sean Kerr, Simon Denny, Sriwhana Spong, Stella Brennan, Yuk King Tan, Yvonne Todd.
Edited by Brian Butler
Project managed by Rob Garrett
Texts by Christina Barton, Emma Bugden, Brian Butler, Natasha Conland, Heather Galbraith, Danae Mossman, Justin Paton, Mercedes Vicente
Published by NZ Venice Project and JRP|Ringier
Distributed by Clouds in Australia & New Zealand and JRP|Ringier in Europe & USA
Softcover, 170 x 240 mm