Secret Power, NZ Pavilion, 56th Int. Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia
Berlin-based sculptor and installation artist Simon Denny will represent New Zealand at the 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia.
His project Secret Power will address the intersection of knowledge and geography in the post-Snowden world. It will investigate new and obsolete languages for describing geo-political space, focusing on the roles played by technology and design.
Curated by Robert Leonard, Chief Curator for Wellington’s City Gallery, the 2015 New Zealand pavilion will be split across two sites: one modern, at the edge of Venice and one historical, at its heart.
Simon Denny will be the first Art Biennale artist to use the terminal at Marco Polo Airport, designed by architect Gian Paolo Mar. Here, people converge from all over the world. For most visitors, it is their first point of contact with Venice. Extending through the arrivals lounge, Denny’s installation will operate between national borders, mixing the languages of commercial display, contemporary airport interior design, and historical representations of the value of knowledge.
The other half of the New Zealand pavilion will be the Marciana Library in Piazza San Marco, designed by Jacopo Sansovino during the Renaissance. Decorated with paintings by artists including Titian and Tintoretto, depicting philosophy and wisdom, the Library is an allegory for the benefits of acquiring knowledge. It also houses historical maps and globes, including Fra Mauro’s early world map, containing information obtained by travellers, merchants and navigators including Marco Polo. It is one of the first European maps to depict Japan, for example. Here, Denny’s installation will draw analogies between this spectacular but obsolete map and the way the world is mapped and managed today.
The exhibition takes its title from investigative journalist and author Nicky Hager’s 1996 book Secret Power, an account of the role and international standing of New Zealand’s intelligence work.
“Simon Denny is one of the most high-profile New Zealand artists working in the international contemporary art world today”, says New Zealand Commissioner for the Biennale Arte 2015, Heather Galbraith. “His work is rich, intelligent and challenging. We are confident it will be very compelling within the context of la Biennale di Venezia.”
Held at the Monumental Rooms, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Piazetta San Marco, Venice 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday - Sunday