The Venice Art Biennale, inaugurated in 1895 in the magical Italian city, is sometimes dubbed the “Art Olympics”, such is its importance in the art world. Since 1939, the British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion, and its selection committee just appointed artist Cathy Wilkes to represent the country.

Cathy Wilkes Cathy Wilkes. ARR.

Cathy Wilkes, who was born in Belfast in 1966 and works in Glasgow, has been making sculptural installations since the mid-1990s. Distilling a profound sense of loss and questioning the notions of privacy and autobiography, her work is complex and intense. While not (yet) a mega-star, she was a Turner Prize nominee in 2008, won the inaugural Maria Lassnig Prize in 2016, and her art is currently on show at MoMA PS1 in New York, receiving rave reviews.

Venice Venice. Photo Rebe Adelaida.

Emma Dexter, British Council Director Visual Arts has saluted Wilkes’s appointment: “Cathy Wilkes’s distinctive and highly personal sculptural installations, evoking the rituals of daily life while alluding to existential questions at the core of human existence, will trigger complex new meanings and atmospherics within the grand domestic architecture of the British Pavilion.”

Installation, Cathy Wilkes Installation, Cathy Wilkes. ARR.

Tate Modern curator Dr Zoe Whitley will collaborate with Wilkes on the project.

Venice Venice. Photo Dan Novac.

Sure, we will have to wait until the next Art Biennale in 2019 to see what Wilkes has to present, but we can already bet it will be an equally intriguing and disturbing proposition…

Comment