Looking forward to Venice

All the artists showing in the art biennale’s national pavilions, as they are announced...

Ashley Hans Scheirl and Jakob Lena Knebl, installation at Vienna city hall, 2019. Photo: eSeL

In the lead up to the 59th Venice Biennale in 2021, we will update the list of every participating country’s representing artist as the news is announced. Stay tuned!

Marco Fusinato will head to Venice as Australia’s representative. The artist and musician previously showed at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 as part of Okwui Enwezor’s international exhibition, All the World’s Futures.

Artists Ashley Hans Scheirl and Jakob Lena Knebl, who have worked together before, most recently at the 15th Biennale de Lyon, will represent Austria. The duo was chosen for the pavilion by Mumok director Karola Kraus who said that they ‘negotiate current, explosive and innovative topics in sensual works with broad impact. Their works, which are characterised by the diverse interrelations between art, performance, design, fashion and architecture, address current discourses that are received internationally.’

The National Gallery of Canada has selected Toronto-based artist Stan Douglas to represent the North American country, citing his ‘continuing re-imagination of the mediums of photography and multi-channel film and video installation’ in a statement. Douglas has been involved in four previous editions of the biennale.

Pilvi Takala
has been chosen by Frame Contemporary Art Finland to represent the country. Berlin and Helsinki-based, the artist is best known for her videos documenting performance interventions, ranging from dressing as Snow White to visit Disney Land Paris (and being turned away) to taking a job at the marketing company and refusing to do any work. The pavilion is to be curated by Christina Li, who, now Hong Kong and Amsterdam-based, was previously the director and then curator-at-large of Spring Workshop. 

Zineb Sedira will represent France, making her the first French-Algerian-British to do so. The London-based artist works with film and photography to explore ideas around cultural identity and belonging. 

Great Britain
The British council has chosen London-based artist Sonia Boyce to represent Britain. Boyce works with many mediums, highlighting and challenging notions about the representation of the black body and how they intersect with ideas about class and gender, particularly in Britain. She will be the first black woman to represent Britain at the biennale. 

Sigurður Guðjónsson is Iceland’s pick. Guðjónsson works with audio-visual installations that simulate synaesthetic experiences, creating unusual links between vision and hearing to extend the audience’s perceptual field. 

The Netherlands
Melanie Bonajo will represent the Netherlands, producing a new film which 'considers the 'human body and hauls it up out of the claws of capitalism. The work won't be shown in the country's usual Rietveld Pavilion in the Giardini but the Chiesetta della Misericordia, a deconsecrated 13th century church. For one year only the Mondriaan Fund, which organises the country's participation in the biennale, has invited Estonia to occupy their usual venue. Director of the fund, Eelco van der Lingen, said the move was a gesture towards the inherent imperialism of the pavilion system. 'It’s often been said that the Giardini reflects a former balance of powers, but no country gives up its place on the main stage of the biennale. At the same time, it’s good for us to step out of our comfort zone for once and explore the freedom outside the walls of the pavilion. This also gives the Dutch entry the opportunity to come up with a plan that doesn’t need to take into account the context of Rietveld, the pavilion, or the Giardini.' The modernist The modernist Rietveld Pavilion was built in 1954. The last new pavilion to be built in the Giardini was South Korea's in 1995 (the Australian pavilion was rebuilt in 2015) and there is no room in the gardens for any further buildings.

New Zealand 
Samoan-born artist Yuki Kihara has been selected to represent New Zealand. Kihara, who studied fashion design and technology, uses an interdisciplinary approach to highlight and question historical narratives regarding people of Pacific descent.  

Latifa Echakhch will represent Switzerland, having already done so once before at the 54th edition in 2011. Echakhch is best known for her installations, which make use of ordinary objects, decontextualising them to allow for open interpretation.