May 26, 2011 - Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Australian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale
May 26, 2011

Australian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale

Hany Armanious, “Relative Nobody” (detail) 2010.
Pigmented polyurethane resin, 114 x 89 x 66 cm.
Image by Greg Weight.

Hany Armanious
The Golden Thread
The Australian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

1–3 June (Vernissage)–Daily,
4 June–27 November–Tuesday–Sunday,

Press conference for the Australian Pavilion
Wednesday, 1 June 2011, 10:30am
(registration required with the Biennale press office for entry)

The official Australian representation at the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is Hany Armanious.

Entitled Hany Armanious The Golden Thread, the exhibition is curated by Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Doug Hall AM is the Australian Commissioner. The exhibition is presented in the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini di Castello.

“Australia has had a continuing presence at the Venice Biennale since 1954. I am delighted that Hany Armanious represents Australia this year. Hany’s art is panoramic, and embraces ideas and imagery regardless of place. His work is insightful, poignant, and often humorous”, says Commissioner Doug Hall.

Based in the process of casting, Armanious’s sculptures present a double take on objects ranging from ancient history to the everyday. His meticulous casts of found objects—usually redundant or discarded items that feature the wear and tear of their past lives—are deliberately created in non-precious materials, most commonly polyurethane resin.

Armanious redefines the traditional intention of casting–creating multiple identical reproductions of an object—and instead uses the process to create unique objects. Both the original object and the mould are often destroyed, and the scrupulously cast inanimate objects become artifacts of sorts, temporarily diverting focus from the object itself to the process of its making and evolution.

The Australian Pavilion will feature a series of eleven works, mostly new, and a few older pieces.

“Armanious’s invocation of ancient forms and cultures, his embrace of a nearly alchemical transformation of one material into another, and his interest in incorporating the processes of making and displaying works of art into the sculptures themselves, underscore his desire to locate the mysterious within the mundane” says curator Anne Ellegood. “By arguing that objects in our everyday life—leaf-blowers, vases, teapots, baskets, irons, window blinds, or even a cardboard Burger King crown—can carry as much visual pleasure, as much potential for beauty, as those things designed or deemed to be in the domain of aesthetics, his work is an acknowledgement that there is more to this world than meets the eye.”

The Australian exhibition at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, is a project of the Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian government’s arts funding and advisory body.

About Hany Armanious

Sydney-based artist Hany Armanious was born in 1962 in Ismalia, Egypt. He received his Bachelor of Visual Arts at the City Art Institute in Sydney in 1984.

He has presented solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri (2008); the City Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand (2008); the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane (2006); and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2001), among others. His work was also presented in solo exhibitions at galleries around the world, including Foxy Production in New York (2010, 2007); Galleria Raucci/Santamaria, Naples, Italy (2009); Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney (2009, 2006, 2004, 2003); and Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland (2008, 2006, 2004, 2003).

His work was included in the Busan Biennale, Korea (2006), the Johannesburg Biennale (1995), the Venice Biennale (1993), and the 9th Sydney Biennale (1992) and is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, California, and the private collection of Dakis Joannou in Athens, Greece.

In 2005, Armanious was shortlisted for the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia, and he has been awarded several residencies, such as the Australia Council residency in New York City and the Australia Council’s Los Angeles studio. Hany won the prestigious Moet and Chandon Fellowship in 1998.


The Australia Council for the Arts acknowledges and thanks the following project supporters:

Major support is generously provided by The Balnaves Foundation.

Additional funding is generously provided by Maddocks, Museum of Old and New Art, New Albion Gallery and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Further support is provided by Arts NSW, Arts Victoria, Arts Queensland, Department of Culture and the Arts WA, Arts NT, and Arts Tasmania; through the Commissioner’s Council of Simon and Catriona Mordant, Glyn Davis AC represented by Charles Green, Penelope Seidler AM and Roslyn and Tony Oxley; and many individuals through the Australia Venice Biennale 2011 Champions Program.

Media contacts:

Jeffrey Walkowiak
Blue Medium Inc.
T: +1 212 675 1800
M: +39 348 922 9794 (in Venice during the vernissage days)

Australia and New Zealand
Victoria McClelland-Fletcher
Australia Council for the Arts
T: +61 2 9215 9008
M: +61 (0) 409 223 719 (in Australia during Vernissage days)

Australian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale
Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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