a-n has awarded 23 bursaries to enable artist members to attend two of this summer’s major visual art events – the 57th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition in Italy, and Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany. Each receives an award of £600.
While a-n has previously supported members to travel to the Venice Biennale in 2013 and 2015, this is the first time bursaries have been offered to attend Documenta.
Among those supported to attend the preview of the Venice Biennale, which takes place 10-12 May 2017, is Raju Rage, an interdisciplinary artist based in London.
Explaining that this will be the first time he has attended the biennale, he says the theme of the international exhibition, ‘Viva Arte Viva’, which explores the idea of humanism from the perspective of artists, is of particular interest to his current research.
“My practice interrogates how bodies are connected and disconnected from each other and who gets to be human, primarily using my own subjective embodied experience and identity in my work as an approach and process of healing,” he says.
“Attending the biennale will benefit me greatly in witnessing how other artists have approached similar themes, and allow me to develop critical questions and self-reflect on my work, and its position in and contribution to the art world.”
Rochester-based Margherita Gramegna says that attending the biennale will form part of her research for the next edition of the 51zero festival, a project of artists’ moving image and digital art she initiated in 2012 to foster cross-border and international collaboration working from within the region of Medway as the project’s base.
“The bursary will give me the opportunity to learn more about the curation and presentation of digital artwork, and enable me to expand the aspiration of 51zero, with the aim of connecting Medway and the artists from the area to international arts programmes.”
The full list of a-n Artist members awarded bursaries to attend Venice Biennale is:
Shaun Badham, Saranjit Birdi, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Katharine Fry, Margherita Gramegna, Philippe Handford, Kaori Homma, Raju Rage, Hedley Roberts, Emily Sparkes
While bursaries have been awarded to attend the preview of the main Kassel leg of this year’s Documenta (8-9 June), several applicants noted that the dual-city curatorial format of the exhibition – which initially launches in Athens in April – and its theme of ‘Learning From Athens’ is particularly relevant to their practice.
Chorley-based artist and writer Hannah Elizabeth Allan says she hopes the curatorial methods apparent in this dual-site approach will feed into her current and future work.
“As a practitioner working between more rural and outlying suburban locations and Manchester, I am interested in the manner in which locations can be twinned and mapped onto each other,” she explains. “Particularly in terms of creating socially-engaged works around notions of censorship and dissent, communication and mapping between sites, and the manner in which audiences interact with the exhibitions.”
London-based artist Pat Naldi feels the focus on Athens will make the exhibition particularly relevant in the current political climate. Explaining her belief that it’s imperative for art and artists to become more proactive, and to sustain an outward-looking perspective beyond our own borders, she says: “The curatorial vision of this two-part edition deals with geographic identity, immigration issues, and austerity measures in the light of the economic crisis.
“An issue at the forefront of my thinking as an artist and educator is the role of art and artists in our current society – to question and develop strategies and methods of how art, and artists might contribute as agents for positive, long-term, socio-political change.
“Attending Documenta at this particular moment in time provides an invaluable opportunity to generate much needed debate, and inform and facilitate my current and future thinking and research on this issue.”
The full list of a-n artist members selected to receive Documenta 14 bursaries is:
Hannah Elizabeth Allan, Michele Allen, Morag Colquhoun, Philip Cornett, Chris Paul Daniels, Mat Do, Freya Dooley, Rosalind Fowler, Rebecca Howard, Pat Naldi, Rosy Naylor, Elizabeth Turner, Hannah Rose Whittle
All a-n bursaries come with an obligation to report on activity, to share with the community on www.a-n.co.uk and beyond. Look out for posts on Reviews and Blogs in May and June, and read blogs from the previous round of a-n Venice Biennale bursaries at www.a-n.co.uk/tag/venice-2015-bursary
1. Hannah Elizabeth Allan, Change of State, durational performance, 2014. Photo: Hannah Ruby Davies.
2. 51zero Festival 2014, ‘The Other Side of Here’.
3. Pat Naldi, The real [e]state.