Simon Denny to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale

Simon Denny to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale

New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Simon Denny, 12.20 DIGITAL DIPLOMACY, 2013. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne, Petzel Gallery, New York, Michael Lett, Auckland and T293, Rome/Naples.*

August 13, 2014

Simon Denny to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale

Commissioner: Heather Galbraith, Head, Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Massey University, Wellington 
Curator: Robert Leonard, Chief Curator, City Gallery Wellington

Sculptor and installation artist Simon Denny has been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale

“Simon Denny is one of the most high-profile New Zealand artists working internationally. His intelligent, challenging work is characterised by its fascination with technological advancement and developing modes of communication. We are confident his project will be relevant and compelling,” says New Zealand Commissioner for the 2015 Venice Biennale, Heather Galbraith.

Denny’s work has explored the culture of internet-technology firms, technological obsolescence, corporate culture, and contemporary constructions of national identity. He is interested in innovation as a driving force in business, in the rhetoric of Silicon Valley and tech start-ups, in technology’s role in shaping global culture and in the ways information is controlled and shared. He explores these ideas in installations that combine sculpture, graphics, and moving images. 

Born in Auckland in 1982, Denny is now based in Berlin. He studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland and at Frankfurt’s Städelschule, graduating in 2009. He was included in the 2008 Sydney Biennale and the 2009 Brussels Biennale. In 2012, he won the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel. He was the only New Zealand artist invited to exhibit in the curated show at the 2013 Venice Biennale. This year, he is a nominee for New Zealand’s Walters Prize (he was also nominated in 2012). 

Denny’s work has been included in shows at major European art museums, including ICA, London; Kunsthaus Bregenz; KW Center for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Fridericianum, Kassel; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.  In 2013, he presented All You Need Is Data: The DLD 2012 Conference Redux at Kunstverein Munich; Petzel Gallery, New York; and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (as one of four nominees for the 2013 Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst). He exhibited The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom, at MUMOK, Vienna, in 2013, and Firstsite, Colchester, in 2014. He just opened a new project, New Management, at the Portikus, Frankfurt. 

Curator Robert Leonard is one of New Zealand’s most experienced contemporary-art curators and writers. He has just returned to New Zealand to be Chief Curator at City Gallery Wellington. “Simon and Robert’s partnership is very exciting,” says Galbraith. “Their presentation in the New Zealand pavilion will continue to build on our reputation as a country with a potent and relevant visual arts community.”

Denny’s project will address access to information in the post-Snowden world, focusing on relationships between geography, knowledge, and power. The show will consider how nation states gather and use intelligence, referring to New Zealand’s role in the international intelligence community. By looking at the way the world is represented in state-produced and distributed documents, spaces, and images, and by the careful choice of venue, the show will contrast ways of depicting world knowledge from different moments in history. 

The project takes its title from Nicky Hager’s 1996 book Secret Power, an account of the role and international standing of New Zealand’s intelligence work. Hager is an adviser to the project.

Designer David Bennewith will work with Denny to produce the show’s branding, book, and website. Originally from New Zealand, Bennewith studied at the Typographic and Graphic Design from the Werkplaats Typografie, Arnhem, and the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, and now lives in Amsterdam. His 2009 book Churchwood International Typefaces addressed Samoan–New Zealand type designer Joseph Churchwood. 

New Zealand’s presence at the Biennale is funded and administered by Creative New Zealand, New Zealand’s arts development agency.

Simon Denny is represented by Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin; Petzel Gallery, New York; T293, Naples/Rome; and Michael Lett, Auckland.

For further information, go to or

For media or image enquiries, contact Sarah Pomeroy: sarah.pomeroy [​at​]

*Image: Simon Denny, 12.20 DIGITAL DIPLOMACY, 2013. Inkjet print on canvas, 160 × 110 × 1.8 cm.  From All You Need Is Data: The DLD 2012 conference REDUX. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Buchholz Berlin/Cologne, Petzel Gallery, New York, Michael Lett, Auckland and T293, Rome/Naples.

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New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
August 13, 2014

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