Laboratorio Della vigna, Irish Pavilion, Venice Biennale
June 15 - November 2, 2003
Laboratorio della vigna
Ireland at the 50th Venice Biennale, 2003
Text by Commissioner and Curator Valerie Connor: "I was appointed to be the Commissioner and Curator of the Irish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Art by the Cultural Relations Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Katie Holten was selected as the artist to represent Ireland. The national coordinator was Jenny Haughton, Artworking Ltd, assisted by Alvaro Petrillo, and local coordinators. The participation in Venice was supported by core funding from the Department of Art, Sport & Tourism and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
The Irish pavilion was located at the Scuola di San Pasquale, which was used to present the national participation from 2001 until 2005, in the Castello area of the city, next to Chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna. Prior to the opening of the Biennale, the artist vacated her small flat nearby where she had worked since the Spring and relocated her workspace to the Scuola. On this occasion the pavilion was particularly opened up to its surroundings and the local neighbourhood, which is traditionally residential and non-touristic, containing also a lot of vacant buildings controversially rendered unavailable for use or habitation by the owners.
Katie Holten presented a new work titled, Laboratorio della Vigna, downstairs and upstairs at the Scuola di San Pasquale. Having moved to Venice in May, the artist had met with other artists, writers, scientists, and local business owners in Venice. She produced a series of events and publications that were made freely available to read and take away at the Scuola building during the Biennale. These were non-editioned and printed locally in Venice using the photocopy shops in the streets next to the Scuola.
Coinciding with the opening week of the Biennale that year, there was a referendum held to restrict the length of time economic immigrants could legally remain in Italy should their employment end, and the numerous campaign posters aimed at voters were duly replaced by posters for the national pavilions and private projects attached to the international art exhibition. In this atmosphere, issues that affect people's everyday lives and other topics informed the final content and character of the project. The Director of the Venice Biennale in 2003 was Francesco Bonami and the overall title he chose for that year's event was 'Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer'. "
Artist: Katie Holten
Commissioner and Curator: Valerie Connor
Cultural Relations Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon
Irish Embassy in Italy
The Merrion Hotel
Murray O Laoire Architects
FGS Farrell Grant Sparks
Mary Murphy Associates
Magahy & Co.
Mason, Hayes & Curran