Nigeria, 7 others to get new pavilions at 2013 Venice Biennale

Posted: November 2, 2012 in arts/culture

The Venice Biennale president, Mr. Paolo Baratta and the 2013 exhibition director Mr. Massimiliano Gioni have announced that Nigeria, along with seven other countries that were not among the 89 participants who featured at last year’s edition of the visual art event, will now have new pavilions at next year’s edition of the international art showcase.

The seven other countries include: Bahamas, Bahrain, Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, the Maldives and Paraguay.

Gioni has also selected a theme for the exhibition, which runs June 1through to November 24, 2013 that will be known as “The Encyclopedic Palace,” part of the title of a 136-story Futurist skyscraper imagined for Washington, D.C.’s National Mall by Marino Auriti, a self-taught Italian American artist.

While authorities in Nigeria are yet to confirm the artist or group of artists to represent the country at the global visual arts meet, Germany has interestingly picked and included controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei among a group of artists to occupy its pavilion at the biennale next year.

Meanwhile, the biennale’s director, Gioni, while making the announcement Monday that at least eight nations will join the biennale next year, staging pavilions alongside long-time participants like France, the United States and so forth, also revealed a surprise participant in the Vatican.

The Vatican City will, according biennale organizers, have a pavilion at the biennale for the first time.

“The artists will include fewer than ten men and women from various countries around the world, some of whom are established artists and others who are just emerging. Their subject matter will be the first 11 chapters of the Book of Genesis,” read Italy’s La Stampa paper.

Last year’s biennale saw a total of 89 international pavilions, an all-time record. Though Singapore has said that it will sit out this round, the nine confirmed additions over the past two days mean that a new record will almost certainly be set next year.

The 55th edition of the Venice Biennale will run from June 1 to November 24, 2013. Newly-appointed associate director, Gioni, is curating the main exhibition at the show, and dozens of countries will present work at the same time in their national pavilions.

Participating artists representing countries in Venice next year include: Austria (Mathias Poledna), Britain

(Jeremy Deller), Canada (Shary Boyle), Denmark (Jesper Just), France (Anri Sala), Germany (Ai Weiwei, Dayanita Singh, Santu Mofokeng, Romuald Karmakar), Hong Kong (Lee Kit), Iceland (Katrín Sigurdardóttir), Ireland (Richard Mosse), Japan (Koki Tanaka), Lebanon (Akram Zaatari), The Netherlands (Mark Manders), New Zealand (Bill Culbert), Portugal (Joana Vasconcelos).

Others are: Russia (Vadim Zakharov), Scotland (Duncan Campbell, Corin Sworn and Hayley Tompkins), Singapore (Skipping 2013), South Korea (Group show), Switzerland (Valentin Carron), Turkey (Ali Kazma), United Arab Emirates (Mohammed Kazem), United States (Sarah Sze) and Wales (Bedwyr Williams).

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