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REPORT FROM 2024 LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA: Australia and France

Indigenous artists represent both Australia and New Zealand in this year's Biennale. And France is represented by an artist from Martinique.

Editor’s note: Today Virginia Bradley reports about the Australian and French Pavilions at the Venice Biennale 2024.

Australia

Indigenous artist Archie Moore wins prestigious Golden Lion Award for “kith and kin” at the Australia Pavilion at the 2024 La Biennale di Venezia. This is the first time an Australian artist has won this award. The New Zealand based Mataaho Collective has also been award a Golden Lion for their large-scale intricate installation Takapau.

“kith and kin,” installation, Archie Moore, Australia Pavilion. Photo by Virginia Bradley

For “kith and kin,” Moore has installed a reflective pool in the center of the Australia Pavilion that pays tribute to the injustices faced by First Nations peoples today. Set on a platform above the pool are 500 document stacks mainly consisting of partly redacted coronial inquests into the deaths of Indigenous Australians in police custody dated in our lifetime. Across the walls and ceilings of the space, a celestial, genealogical chart spanning 65,000 years reminds visitors that ‘the reports do not represent nameless statistics; rather, they are children, siblings, cousins, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and great-grandparents.’ A convergence of the personal with the political, “kith and kin” also highlights similar injustices around the world. The exhibition is curated by Ellie Buttrose and commissioned by Creative Australia. (Art Review, April 20, 2024)

“kith and kin,” Archie Moore , installation, Australian Pavilion. Photo: Virginia Bradley

The forms of Archie Moore’s stacks of papers in the installation “kith and kin” are also reminiscent of the concrete slabs or stelae in the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe,” a memorial to the murdered Jews of the Holocaust in Berlin. Although the Berlin memorial is on a larger scale it shares a sense timelessness and finality with “kith and kin.”

A propos of Australia, the Mataaho Collective, from its neighbor New Zealand, composed of four Māori women artists (Bridget Reweti, Erena Baker, Sarah Hudson and Terri Te Tau) were also awarded a Golden Lion for their beautiful intricate “Takapau” installation at the entrance to the Arsenale. The installation is made of florescent trucking straps and is inspired by Māori mats.

“Takapau” installation, forming a canopy at entrance to the Arsenale. Photo: Ben Stewart

 

French Pavilion

Martinique artist Juilen Creuzet was chosen to represent France in the 60th La Biennale di Venezia. Julien’s theme of using water to portray the fragility life against the mythic backdrop of Caribbean history is one close to my own practice and heart. Creuzet weaves found objects from the sea with large-scale video projections to create a playful dialogue to rediscover and re-establish nature’s priorities. Even the sparkling sound emitting from the building creates a playful lens to draw to the passer-bye into the surrealistic world inside. Don’t miss the French Pavilion it is full of surprises!

 

Exterior of the French Pavilion with Julien Creuzet’s Installation Photo by Virginia Bradley

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