Ireland’s Representation at the 59th Venice Art Biennale

Niamh O’Malley and TBG+S to represent Ireland at the 59th Venice Art Biennale in 2022.
“Venezia biennale 2017” by BadSwan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Niamh O’Malley will represent Ireland at the 59th Venice Art Biennale in 2022.

The director of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Cliodhna Shaffrey, will be curator. She will be working with Michael Hill, programme curator and the team at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, to deliver the exhibition.

“I wish Niamh O’Malley and Temple Bar Gallery + Studios every success in representing Ireland at Venice in 2022,” said Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D.. “It is a hugely important moment in an artist’s career as the Venice Biennale serves as a global showcase.”

The Venice Art Biennale is one of the most popular visual art exhibitions. The Biennale Foundation has a continuous existence supporting the arts as well as organizing Art Biennale, Venice Film Festival and Venice Dance Biennale, among others. 

The Art Biennale attracts over half a million visitors, including global curators, gallerists, art critics and artists.

Niamh O’Malley’s proposal for the Irish pavilion in Venice, entitled “To mark a space, to hold a spot”, is said to reflect an emphasis on the importance of the studio and its role in the creation of work.

“Niamh O’Malley’s practice will gain further international recognition and working with TBG+S, as curators, will increase awareness of Ireland’s strong visual arts sector,” said Minister Martin.

TGB+S Director, Cliodhna Shaffrey, gave some clues as to what to expect from Ireland during the exhibition. “Known for her exquisitely crafted sculptures and moving image installations, O’Malley brings attention to the act of looking; encouraging the viewer to slow and hold still in the moment,” she said. “Her work is founded in making and materiality and underpinned by a questioning of how we touch the world.”

Born in Co. Mayo, Niamh O’Malley currently lives and works in Dublin. She has made numerous solo exhibitions in recent years including Mother’s Tankstation Limited (2020), Royal Hibernian Academy (2019), and Lismore Castle Arts (2019).

Her work is included in numerous private & public collections including The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Ireland, Office of Public Works, Ireland, and Galleria Arte Moderna, Turin.

Ireland at Venice is an initiative run by Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council. Ireland was previously represented at the Venice Biennale by Eva Rothschild (2019), Jesse Jones (2017), Sean Lynch (2015) and photographer Richard Mosse (2013).

The Venice Art Biennale was originally set to open next spring but was postponed until April, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will run for seven months through November 27, 2022. 

All other currently scheduled Venice Biennale events devoted to film, theatre and music have proceeded with their editions as planned. The 14th International Festival of Contemporary Dance is set to run between 13-25 October 2020.

In its more than 100-year-long history, the Venice Biennale art exhibition has only been canceled or postponed during major global cataclysms like the two World Wars, and following protests at the 1972 edition, which led to the cancellation of the 1974 edition.

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