In This Issue

EDITOR’S NOTE

Little over a year ago Angelica Mesiti achieved what most Australian artists desire: to be selected as Australia’s sole representative at the Venice Biennale.

As this issue’s cover artist, only months before its May presentation in the Australia Pavilion, Mesiti spoke to Elli Walsh about her journey to the 58th Biennale di Venezia and the progress of her new work, ASSEMBLY.

The battle to arrive in Venice and the exhibition there of a new work often conceals a long-held commitment between business and government in the support of artists.

Few Australians understand how long it took for Australia to secure a foothold in the Giardini Pavilion. It’s now almost impossible for other governments to secure a site, even China has not been able to build in the Giardini; that country has had to settle for a shared venue at the far end of the Arsenale.

Locating the Australia Pavilion amongst the other twenty-eight national pavilions in the Giardini was made possible with the assistance the late Franco Belgiorno-Nettis. His influence, in both Australia and Italy, and that of his company, Transfield, gave the Australian Ambassador a platform to encourage the Italian government and the Biennale Secretariat to find a site for the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini. By 1988 the first Australian Pavilion was completed by Australian architect Philip Cox AO, who donated his services, designing a minimum-cost prefabricated Pavilion.

After many years of Australian participation in the Biennale we were able to build in the Giardini. By 2011 Simon Mordant AM, the 2013 and 2015 Australian Commissioner, stood at the entrance of the Australia Pavilion, side by side with the Australia Council for the Arts, and pledged $1M on behalf of his family, to build a twenty-first century Australian Pavilion by 2015, the end of his Commissioner’s term. And that he did. Within a few years Mordant would raise another $5M with business and government to enable Australian architects Denton Corker Marshall to complete the new Pavilion to be ready for the opening of the 56th Biennale di Venezia and the inaugural exhibition of Fiona Hall AO.

When Angelica Mesiti’s exhibition ASSEMBLY is launched she will be the third exhibiting Australian artist, after Hall and Tracey Moffatt (2017), in the Denton Corker Marshall designed Pavilion.

Yet while Australia built the Pavilion and is responsible for its maintenance, it does not own the land it is on. The Australia Pavilion exists by the kindness of the Italian government and the Comune di Venezia, which in theory could ask for its removal. It’s an unlikely proposition, if the successful relationships between business and government continue, just as the Biennale di Venezia continues to be, as it has been for more than 120 years, the unquestioned focus of the international art calendar.

– Kon Gouriotis


COVER FEATURE

ANGELICA MESITI by Elli Walsh

ISSUE

POWERHOUSE MUSEUM by John McDonald 

PROFILES

PIERRE MUKEBA by Fulvia Mantelli
KAWITA VATANAJYANKUR by Nur Shkembi
ANDRÉ HEMER by Rose Vickers
ANGELA BRENNAN by Laura Couttie
GEMMA SMITH by Tai Mitsuji
AMANDA MARBURG by Saskia Beudel
JOHN ASLANIDIS by H.R. Hyatt-Johnston
CUTLER FOOTWAY by Kon Gouriotis
TIM MCMONAGLE by Ellinor Pelz 

INSIGHT

TOBY ZIEGLER by Elli Walsh
PROCESS: BRIDGETTE MCNAB
PROCESS: DREW CONNOR HOLLAND
PETER HILL’S SUPERFICTIONS by Judith Pugh
PREVIEW: ILDIKO KOVACS by Paul McGillick
PREVIEW: SUZANNE ARCHER by John McDonald
PREVIEW: JASPER KNIGHT by Emma-Kate Wilson
RICHARD BELL AT TATE MODERN by Michael Young
POEM: PARLOUR GAMES by John von Sturmer
THE PRICELESS AT WHAT PRICE? by David Stein
SANDSTONE AND SABLE by Joe Frost
GONSKI 2 by Anna Johns
INDEBTED by Lucy Stranger
WHY IS AUSTRALIAN ART SO CHEAP? Panel discussion with Mark Hughes, Dick Quan, Cressida Campbell, Drew Connor Holland and Barry Keldoulis
JOINING THE DOTS by Louise Martin-Chew
FILM REVIEW: KUSUMA: INFINITY by John McDonald
BOOK REVIEW: MICK NAMARARI TJAPALTJARRI by Jeremy Eccles
DISCOVERY: KIRTIKA KAIN

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