Irish Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition

Irish Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition

Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Gerard Byrne, 1984 & Beyond, 3 Channel Video, Installation & Photographs, Dimensions variable, Arts Council of Ireland, 2005 Irish Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition

May 6, 2007

Irish Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition

La Biennale di Venezia
Istituto Provinciale per lInfanzia Santa Maria della Pietà
Calle della Pietà, Castello, 30122 Venice (located between San Marco and the Arsenale)
June 7, 5pm: Official opening
June 7-9: Vernissage
10 June 21 November 2007: exhibition open

Artist: Gerard Byrne 
Commissioner: Mike Fitzpatrick 

Gerard Byrne, Irelands solo representative in the 52nd Venice Biennale, is increasingly well known for his ambitious video installations and photographic projects. His use of documentary materials re-enacts and recalls key moments of the latter part of the 20th century, tapping into attitudes and conventions of our recent past.

Byrnes art practice utilises video and photography to question the ways in which images are constructed, transmitted and mediated. His work examines the modes and conventions of image-making and analyses the mechanics of representation itself. Influenced by literature and theatre, Gerard Byrnes work consistently references a range of sources, from popular magazines of the recent past to iconic modernist playwrights like Brecht, Beckett, and Sartre.

The project 1984 and Beyond (2005) features a discussion between twelve science-fiction writers that originally took place in 1963. Filmed in the Netherlands in the Kröller-Müller Museum at the Sonsbeek Pavilion (Rietveldt, 1965) and in ‘s-Hertogenbosch at the Provinciehuis (Maaskant, 1959 -1971), 1984 gathers such characters as Arthur C. Clarke and Rod Serling, who occupy these quasi-Brutalist settings to ponder Life on Mars, artificial intelligence, and over-population. A conflation of scientific fact and extraordinary speculation, as Emily Pethick remarks, 1984 and Beyond is by no means a simple reconstruction of a document, but a collection of multiple narratives and parallel histories that lead tangentially outwards, forming connections between three time periods, 1963, 1984, and 2005.

In an extensive photographic project, A Country Road, A Tree. Evening (2006 ongoing) Byrne takes as a starting point the famous stage directions that open Becketts Waiting for Godot. Each photograph repeats the theatricality of this line, which effects a process of research that combines historical details of Becketts life with Byrnes own conjecture.

Born in Dublin in 1969, Byrne studied in New York. He was awarded the prestigious PS1 studio award in 1997-8, graduated from the Whitney Independent Study Programme in 1999 and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn award in 2006. His work has received significant attention internationally in recent years, and has been presented recently at the Tate Triennial (2006), Istanbul Biennial (2003), the Whitney Museum of American Art (2003), New York, the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2005) and MUMOK, Vienna (2006). Major solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003), and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2002) and forthcoming at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf. He lives and works in Dublin.

Culture Ireland, the organisation founded to promote Irish culture internationally joins together with the Arts Council of Ireland in this presentation of a significant body of work by Gerard Byrne, in a new venue in the Institute Santa Maria della Pietà. In 2007 for the first time both the Ireland and the Northern Ireland Pavilion, which features the work of Willie Doherty, are located in the same building.
Accompanying the exhibition will be a limited edition catalogue published in both English and German. This beautifully printed 144 page publication features contributions from Catherine Wood [Tate Curator of contemporary art/performance], Mark Godfrey [Slade School of Fine Art] and Lytle Shaw [New York University].

Main supporters
Culture Ireland, Arts Council of Ireland [An Chomhairle Ealaíon].

Supporting partners
Office of Public Works, Farmleigh Gallery, Murray O Laoire Architects, DHL Ireland, Limerick City Council, IADT, Green on Red Gallery, Carr Associates, Embassy of Ireland [Rome], British Council [Ireland], Lisson Gallery [London], Fingal County Council.

Catalogue partners
Charles H Scott Gallery [Vancouver], Farmleigh Gallery [Dublin], Green on Red Gallery [Dublin], Kunstverein fur die Hreinlande und Westfalen [Düsseldorf], Lisson Gallery [London], Model Arts and Niland Gallery [Sligo].

For more information

Mike Fitzpatrick

Gerard Byrne is represented by Green On Red Gallery, Dublin and Lisson Gallery, London

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Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
May 6, 2007

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