Australian Pavilion at Venice Biennale

6 May 2015

Today, Australia makes its mark on the international cultural stage with the opening of our new pavilion at the world’s most significant contemporary art show, the Venice Biennale.

At a ceremony in Venice, I officially opened the new permanent home of Australian art at the biennale: the Australian pavilion. The pavilion is the first 21st century building in the biennale gardens and was designed by Denton Corker Marshall.

The building in the Giardini della Biennale has been designed to complement its surroundings, overlooking the Rio dei Giardini canal. The design includes movable external panels that change the building’s outside appearance as well as the experience of being inside the building.

As the owner of the first 21st Century building in the Biennale gardens, Australia is now uniquely positioned to showcase the quality of our architectural design and provide a versatile setting for leading Australian artists exhibiting in the years to come.

On behalf of the government, I extend my thanks to Simon Mordant AM, Australian Commissioner for the Venice Biennale for championing the creation of a new pavilion for Australia.

The pavilion is the result of a significant public-private partnership. Through the generous support of 80 families and companies, $6.5 million was raised through private funds to make this project possible. The Australian Government also contributed $1 million through the Australia Council for the Arts.

This is a fine example of what can be achieved through public-private partnerships and philanthropy in the arts sector – it is a partnership of critical importance for the Australian Government.

I also thank the many exhibition sponsors and partners who make an invaluable contribution to the cost of exhibiting the work of Australia’s official artist at the biennale.

Fiona Hall AO will be the first artist to exhibit in the new pavilion with her exhibition Wrong Way Time. An Adelaide-based contemporary visual artist, Hall’s work creates a multisensory experience, using a range of mediums. She joins many art luminaries to exhibit at the Venice Biennale including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and Emily Kame Kngwarreye.

The Australian pavilion is managed by the Australia Council for the Arts.