Australia to upgrade Venice pavilion
The country has launched a drive to raise A$4m-A$6m to replace the building by 2015
By Cristina Ruiz. From Art Basel daily edition
Published online: 02 June 2011
venice. The Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale is to be demolished and replaced with a new building by 2015. The Australia Council has now launched a fund-raising drive to secure the A$4m-A$6m (€2.9m-€4.4m) required for the project.
In Basel, Simon Mordant, the commissioner of the 2013 Australian pavilion, told The Art Newspaper that the current building was constructed in 1988 to secure the last permanent plot in the Giardini released by the city of Venice, and was always intended to be temporary.
The two-level pavilion, which is built on a slope, is a notoriously difficult space in which to show art. This year’s biennale hosts work by sculptor Hany Armanious (until 27 November).
Mordant said: “We’re not looking to build something architecturally outstanding but something that works for the artists.”
Mordant, who is the co-chief executive of corporate advisory firm Greenhill Caliburn, also serves as the chairman of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and, with his wife Catriona, recently donated A$15m (€11m) to the institution for its expansion project. He has now been asked to help the Australia Council raise funds for the new pavilion, and has already pledged A$1m (€737,000) towards the project.
A feasibility study on the site, co-funded by the Mordants, was carried out last year. It might be possible to move the pavilion so it overlooks the canal behind the building. The canal is currently used to transport rubbish but if it was used as a new access point for the Giardini, the authorities might divert the trash, he said.
The Giardini pavilions are seen as antiquated by many countries that are unhappy with their spaces, either because of the imperialist style of their architecture or because, as relative latecomers, their pavilions were hastily constructed in bad locations. The question is: will others follow Australia’s lead?
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