November 26, 2017 - National Gallery of Canada - Geoffrey Farmer’s A way out of the mirror, a success at the Venice Biennale 2017
November 26, 2017

National Gallery of Canada

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

Geoffrey Farmer’s A way out of the mirror, a success at the Venice Biennale 2017 

Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Geoffrey Farmer’s A way out of the mirror, a success at the Venice Biennale 2017 

Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

“The Canadian artist is literally causing a splash with his Venice presentation... Don’t let the whimsical appearance fool you: death, catastrophe, and the passage of time are Farmer’s main subjects.”
–Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, ArtNet

Canada’s participation at the 57th Venice Biennale was one of the most successful since its inaugural exhibition in 1952, due in large part to the artist’s extraordinary installation, on view at the Canada Pavilion, located in the Giardini di Castello.

Known for his laboriously crafted projects of epic proportions, Geoffrey Farmer’s installation at the Canada Pavilion is an evocative and powerful work.

“In A way out of the mirror, Geoffrey Farmer imagined belonging to the nation-state, in terms at once celebratory and mournful; not as a well-bounded or monolithic identity but as fluidity and loss. Transforming the pavilion into an open-air stage for his fountains, he also opened a space for renewal and reflection that literally exploded the intersections of personal and national histories,” said Kitty Scott, the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, who was selected by Farmer to be the organizer of the Canada Pavilion exhibition.

“While bronze casting and waterworks represent important new avenues of material exploration for Geoffrey Farmer, works in A way out of the mirror embody a continuation of themes that motivate the artist's ‎overall approach and practice, specifically his interest in the allegorical potential of objects and figures to create vivid and loaded portraits of people and lived experiences,” said Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, and Project Director of the Canada Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2017.

Farmer’s remarkable transformation of the pavilion attracted significant international media attention. In addition to being featured by several publications as a not-to-be-missed exhibition, Farmer’s work was also mentioned in dozens of international publications, including The Guardian, BBC and The Independent (UK), L’Uomo Vogue and Il sole 24 Ore (Italy), Forbes and The Economist (US), Der Standard (Austria), La Nación (Argentina), Harper’s Bazaar (UAE), El País and El Mundo (Spain), Monopol (Germany) and Artnet (China), contributing to a global conversation about contemporary art in Canada.

Canada’s representation at the Biennale Arte 2017 was made possible by the generosity of the Donald R. Sobey Family and the Michael and Sonja Koerner Family who launched the Canadian Artists in Venice Endowment, by the exhibition’s Partners the National Gallery of Canada Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts, Presenting Sponsor RBC, Major Sponsor Aimia, and a visionary group of private and corporate donors from across Canada.

The Gallery, in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, the Venice Biennale, and the Venice Superintendent of Architectural Heritage, has begun a major 3 million CAD restoration of the Canada Pavilion—an important architectural landmark of designated heritage interest. Renovation work, suspended during the Biennale Arte 2017 will resume in January 2018. The Canada Pavilion, restored to its original 1957 design, will be officially revealed at the Biennale di Architettura 2018. Funding for the pavilion restoration has been generously provided by the National Gallery of Canada’s Distinguished Patron Reesa Greenberg.

Next month, the National Gallery of Canada will announce the artist who will be representing Canada at the 2019 Biennale Arte.

For more information, please visit:

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 or 613 355 3989 / bmallet [​at​]

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

National Gallery of Canada
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