Tim Davies

Wales in Venice 2011: A Summary

A Summary of the Opening Weekend by Harry McIver, Co-Director of Wales Arts International

The Wales in Venice exhibition of work by Tim Davies, eagerly anticipated by the sector in Wales, provoked a very positive response during the opening weekend of the biennale. Many visitors to the exhibition made a point of expressing their appreciation of the work and of the exhibition as a whole.

The official launch was held on the morning of 2nd June, supported by key personnel from Wales who brought their international counterparts and contacts for a private view of the work. The new location for Wales in Venice is excellent and our visitor numbers during the first few days reflect this; over 1,000 visitors came to the exhibition on the launch day alone.

The opening of the Wales in Venice exhibition afforded an excellent opportunity to re-engage with many key figures in the visual arts world and to make new contacts with whom to discuss shared themes and new opportunities. Meetings were held with curators who have previously been hosted in Wales by Wales Arts International, on a study trip to tour artists’ studios, attending key events such as Artes Mundi conference and the re-opening of Mostyn Gallery. These meetings allowed us to catch up with current issues and to discuss relevant work from Wales.

To assist these conversations, Wales Arts International, in partnership with British Council, has produced a new brochure, Celfyddydau Gweledol Cymru: Visual Arts in Wales. Compiled and edited by Ceri Jones, this provides brief information about the sector in Wales engaged in international work. It also contains writing about the Visual Arts in Wales and listings of spaces, collectives and initiatives that may be relevant to international contacts. This publication is also available to view online, please click here for further information.

Part of Wales Arts International’s strategy is to stimulate international thinking and activity in the sector in Wales and for this biennale we were able to award more Venice Travel Awards to enable members of the arts sector to attend. There will be an evaluation of the supported visits and a summary will be available on our website in due course. Those attending the opening weekend clearly found the experience inspiring and were making the most of the opportunity to see and discuss work, feeding their own practice or developing ambitions for their organisations in Wales.

Some recipients of the awards were showing work as part of the exhibition Rhodio: Hats off for Venice, curated by Roger Lougher. These artists have shown work previously in Wales as part of Rhôd in Carmarthenshire, see http://bird-in-the-house.blogspot.com/ for more information. Independently produced, this exhibition provided an interesting counterpart Welsh presence during the opening week of the biennale with a variety of interactions, performances and interventions in their space, the objects and rituals associated with it and also the aural environment.

Many recipients of the travel awards have yet to make their trip and we are eagerly anticipating their feed back. Please click here for further information about the Wales in Venice exhibition by Tim Davies.


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