Housed in the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, an atmospheric church and former convent in the Castello area of the city, Helen Sear’s Wales in Venice show sees the photographic artist focusing on the Welsh landscape, exploring ideas of mortality and temporality.
Sear’s show is the first solo presentation by a woman for Wales in Venice since Arts Council of Wales began commissioning artists in 2003. Her exhibition for the 56th Venice Biennale is a presentation of five photographic and video works titled …the rest is smoke.
Approaching image as a sculptural form, Sear integrates different speeds of looking with the results inviting viewers to focus on the extraordinary in the ordinary. The show is curated by Ffotogallery, the national development agency for photography in Wales, which previously worked with Sear on a 30-year retrospective monograph in 2012.
This is the third time that Wales in Venice has exhibited at Santa Maria Ausiliatrice; the venue was also used for Bedwyr Williams in 2013 and Tim Davies in 2011. Sear comments: “Working together with the Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice team I am excited to be presenting all new work specially conceived for the Biennale.”
David Drake, Ffotogallery’s director, adds: “Sear’s current work moves seamlessly between photography, sculpture and video, exhibiting great command of different materials and production processes. It is the perfect moment for her to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale 2015.”
CORRECTION: In an earlier version of this article, we said that Helen Sear was the first woman to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale since Arts Council of Wales began commissioning work in 2003. This should have said that she is the first woman to have a solo show; other female artists have featured in group shows.
The 56th Venice Biennale, 9 May – 22 November 2015; previews 6-8 May.www.labiennale.org
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