Day #2 - Giardini and Post hoc opening

Dane Mitchell, Zara Stanhope and Chris Sharp at the press preview, 8th May 2019.

We started off visiting the Giardini of the Venice Biennale, which hosts 29 national pavilions as well as one part of the curated exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times by the Biennale curator, Ralph Rugoff. Outside the central pavilion, we were enveloped by a mist created by artist Lara Favaretto, which set a mysterious tone.

Entrance to the central pavilion in the Giardini with work by Lara Favaretto.

Amongst the 40 selected artists, Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan echoed some themes brought up during our conversation with Dane Mitchell yesterday. Strachan’s pieceThe Encyclopaedia of Invisibility (white) (2018) is a compendium of words missing from traditional encyclopaedic volumes, redressing the Encyclopaedia Britannica as a ‘tool of imperial conquest, one that appropriates and condenses knowledge as a means of signalling cultural domination’.

The Encyclopaedia of Invisibility (white) (2018) by Tavares Strachan in the central pavilion.

Favourites so far of the national pavilions include the Australian Pavilion featuring Angelica Mesiti's Assembly; the Nordic Pavilion, Weather Report: Forecasting Future, which featured four different artist tackling climate change and growing environmental awareness; artists Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys' animated mannequins for the Belgian Pavilion Mondo Cane, which proved to be one of the more popular exhibitions.

Images: (Top row) Angelica Mesiti at the Australian Pavilion; Lawrence Abu Hamdan in the curated section; (middle row) Weather Report: Forecasting Future at the Nordic Pavilion; (bottom row) Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys at the Belgium Pavilion; entrance to Uruguay Pavilion.

As well as the huge scope of work included, the audiences attending the Biennale opening week always add to the spectacle.

After our afternoon visit to the Giardini, we made our way to the Palazzina Canonica for the opening celebrations of Post hoc. It was great to see large numbers of the New Zealand art community under the same roof, celebrating over two years of hard work. Karl Johnstone, Kaihautū of NZ at Venice 2019, opened the proceedings, followed by speeches from Michael Moynahan, Chair of the New Zealand Arts Council, Dame Jenny Gibbs, Commissioner of NZ at Venice 2019, and Dane Mitchell.

‘It‘s my hope that when you listen or tune in, you might somehow reflect on the incredible weight of material knowledge, and material itself, that is below this present moment' - Dane Mitchell

Speeches by Dane Mitchell, Dame Jenny Gibbs and Michael Moynahan at the opening night of Post hoc, New Zealand Pavilion at Palazzina Canonica.

The night was a great opportunity for everyone from New Zealand and beyond to catch up. Attendees included artists, curators, patrons, gallerists and collectors: Nina Tonga, Natasha Conland, Anthony Byrt, Leigh Melville, Sue Sinclair, Jim and Mary Barr, Greg Burke, Danae Mossman, Sarah Hopkinson, Anne Noble, Ann Shelton, Simon Rees, David Cross, and many more.

HUM will be going back to hear additional thoughts from the curators, Zara Stanhope and Chris Sharp, and we’ll be sharing those later. Stay tuned!

Opening night of Post hoc at the New Zealand Pavilion, 8th May 2019.