May 17, 2017 - Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Geoffrey Farmer: A way out of the mirror
May 17, 2017

Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

View of Geoffrey Farmer, A way out of the mirror, 2017, the Canada Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, 2017. © Geoffrey Farmer. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Francesco Barasciutti.

Geoffrey Farmer
A way out of the mirror
May 13–November 26, 2017

Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Venice
Italy

www.gallery.ca

Geoffrey Farmer
A way out of the mirror
May 13–November 26, 2017

Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Venice
Italy

www.gallery.ca

After an intense period of study and creation, Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer has emerged with a presentation for the 57th Venice Biennale that interweaves diverse stories of collision and reconciliation.

“Geoffrey Farmer is a wonderful choice to represent Canada,” said Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. “His new work is unlike anything he has created before or anything ever presented in this pavilion. Farmer has entered new creative territory with this extraordinary installation.”

The Geoffrey Farmer exhibition was commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. The Canadian representation in 2017 is made possible through the generous financial support of Presenting Sponsor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Major Sponsor Aimia. Other support was generously provided by the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment, the Government of British Columbia, the Joy Thomson Fund, and over 50 families and individuals. The galleries Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, and Casey Kaplan, New York, offered valued assistance. 

Karen Colby-Stothart, CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, said: "We are deeply indebted to our loyal corporate supporters, RBC and Aimia, our small army of deeply committed philanthropists and the extraordinary partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts–all of whom have made this project possible.”

Simon Brault, O.C., O.Q., Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts, said: “Canada is present at the 57th Venice Biennale through some of contemporary art’s boldest artists. Their work offers the world a window onto the issues, challenges and concerns that define Canada in 2017. They provoke conversations that resonate worldwide, on our current human condition—both as a subject of apprehension and hope.

“At RBC, we recognize that supporting the arts encourages a culture of creativity and innovation, in our communities across Canada and around the globe,” said Wayne Bossert, Deputy Chairman and Head, Ultra-High Net Worth Clients, RBC Wealth Management. “As a proud presenting sponsor of the Canadian Pavilion, we are committed to championing the art and artists that will bring audiences together to educate and inspire.”

A way out of the mirror began with Farmer’s discovery of two unpublished press photographs of 1955 that depict a collision between a train and a lumber truck driven by his paternal grandfather. 71 brass planks, reminiscent of the lumber that was scattered at the scene of the accident, are part of the work. Other elements, including 3D-printed sculptures cast in aluminum and bronze, tell stories ranging from the relations between Italy and Canada after the Second World War to the artist’s own familial trauma, of luminaries Kathy Acker and Allen Ginsberg, and of Inuit teenagers residing in Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

Kitty Scott, the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario was selected by Farmer to curate the Pavilion. “Farmer opens up and transforms the Canada Pavilion into an outwardly facing fountain courtyard: the water of A way out of the mirror translates a surfeit of emotion and discharges it in spurts and drips as tears, ejaculate and sweat,” she said. “It is at once a monument and an anti-monument that memorializes individuals and stories in a gesture of generosity and inclusion.”

Titled to reference the emotive writings of beat poet Allen Ginsberg, A way out of the mirror presents a new way of experiencing the Canada Pavilion, in which the architectural history of the building is entwined with the installation itself.

The presentation takes place on the 60th anniversary of the construction of the Canada Pavilion, as the building undergoes a 3 million CAD restoration. The Canada Pavilion, restored to its original 1957 design, will be unveiled at the Architecture Biennale in 2018.

 

For all media requests:

North America press contact:
Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Media and Public Relations Officer, National Gallery of Canada
T 613 990 6835 / T 613 355 3989 / bmallet [​at​] gallery.ca

International press contact:
Catriona Collins, Pickles PR
T +44 7719 357 114 / catriona [​at​] picklespr.com

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