The Venice Questionnaire: Eva Rothschild

The artist representing Ireland on creating social space through sculpture

Eva Rothschild, Ruins, 2016, jesmonite, resin, spray paint, steel, 360 x 205 x 130 cm. Photo: Robert Glowacki. © the artist. Courtesy the artist; Modern Art, London; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; Kauffman Repetto, Milan; 303 Gallery, New York; and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to artists exhibiting in the various national pavilions of the 2019 Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published daily in the lead-up to the Venice Biennale opening on 11 May.

Eva Rothschild is representing Ireland. The pavilion is in the Arsenale.

What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?

The exhibition is four sculptures each made of multiple elements. I am looking forward to people being with the work as I have considered the exhibition as a very social space throughout the making.

What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or is it problematic?

It is definitely an honour and I don’t find it problematic. I have lived outside of Ireland for a long time but I am still very rooted there and have showed at home regularly throughout my career. Representing Ireland at Venice makes me feel much more actively part of the artistic community in Ireland.

Is your work transnational or rooted in the local?

I hope it’s both. Art should cross boundaries but retain a specificity, otherwise it’s all the same. I make the work and the work reflects my experiences and sensibilities so while parts of it aim for a universality of form, other parts are very informed by the particularities of my daily life.

How does having an exhibition in Venice make a difference to the art scene in your home country?

I think it brings attention to the artistic practice of each nation and by having a diverse range of projects over many years allows a sense of the visual arts culture of each nation to be known more widely.

If you’ve been to the biennale before, what’s your earliest or best memory from Venice?

In terms of Venice itself, it has to be the arrival, the mirage becoming real as you approach… For the Biennale, there isn’t a specific project, more a fantastic joyous sense of takeover in general. A city so full of art from the past hosting art from the present. The sense of a continuum of making and exploration ongoing over hundreds of years is so exciting. It’s a very artistically optimistic environment.

You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?

I just hope I get to see anything at all at this stage! I’m really looking forward to Cathy Wilkes exhibition and to the exhibitions of the artists who are our close neighbours working away over the last few weeks at the Arsenale; Ghana, Slovenia, Chile, Argentina and Indonesia. I’ll be coming back during the summer to take it all in at leisure.

The Venice Biennale runs 11 May – 24 November 2019