Fiona Hall will represent Australia at the 56th Venice Biennale with Wrong Way Time, an installation that brings together hundreds of multi-part works from this renowned artist’s prolific practice.
“Wrong Way Time will be a rich, archaeological display that imagines and embodies some of the issues and fluctuations of our time,” says curator Linda Michael. “Though Hall responds to the perilous state of the environment or shared anxieties about the future, her exhibition will be life-affirming, its own vitality in perverse distinction to the subjects it ranges across.”
Wrong Way Time will be the first exhibition to be held in Australia’s new pavilion, designed by architecture firm Denton Corker Marshall. Funded primarily through donations from private benefactors, in addition to a contribution of $1 million from the Australian Government through the Australia Council, the pavilion is currently under construction and is the first twenty-first century pavilion to be built within the Biennale’s historic Giardini precinct.
In her exhibition for the Venice Biennale, Fiona brings together hundreds of disparate elements which find alignments and create tensions around three intersecting concerns: global politics, finances and the environment. In common with many of us, Hall sees in these failed states ‘a minefield of madness, badness, sadness, in equal measure’, stretching beyond the foreseeable future. Her lifelong passion for the natural environment can be intensely felt in works that respond to our persistent role in its demise, or the perilious state of various species.
Hall‘s seemingly random conjunction of things in a wunderkammer-like installation appeals to our human impulse to make connections, or perhaps a propensity for paranoia born of the deep uncertainty and fear of our times. Yet despite the prevalent darkness, Hall‘s exhibition is fundamentally life-affirming, its own vitality in perverse distinction to the subjects it ranges across, which provide rich pickings for Hall’s extraordinary transformation of materials, images and objects. Drawings on banknotes, painted clocks, ripped and reconstructed military garments, real and constructed natural forms – all contribute to a rich archaeological display that imagines and visually enacts some of the issues and fluctuations of our time.
Fiona Hall (b. 1953) is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. She lives and works in Adelaide. She first came to prominence as a photographer in the 1970s and during the 1980s she extended her creative practice to embrace a diverse range of art forms including sculpture, installation, garden design, and film. Transforming everyday materials and objects, Hall creates artworks which often address the relationship between nature and culture. Her practice includes major public commissions and projects that have increasingly engaged with themes of ecology, history and the effects of globalisation.
Recent solo exhibitions include Fiona Hall: Big Game Hunting at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, (2013), a major survey exhibition, Fiona Hall: Force Field, held by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2008) in partnership with City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand which toured to Christchurch Art Gallery, New Zealand and Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle, Australia, and the retrospective exhibition, The Art of Fiona Hall at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane which toured to the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (both 2005).
Fiona Hall has been included in many important group exhibitions and biennales over the past two decades, including dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany (2012); The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2009); The Biennale of Sydney (2000 and 2010); Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968–2002 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2002); Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1997); Prism: Contemporary Australian Art at the Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo (2006); DeOverkant/Downunder, Den Haag Sculpture 2007, Netherlands (2007). Hall was the recipient of the prestigious Contempora 5 Art Prize in 1997 and in 1999 won the Clemenger Art Award at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Hall’s work has been collected by all the major Australian public art museums, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. She has also completed a number of important public commissions, for example: Folly for Mrs Macquarie, 2000, Sydney Sculpture Walk, Royal Botanic Gardens; Fern Garden,1998, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and Occupied Territory, 1995, commissioned for the opening of the Museum of Sydney.
- Fiona Hall, Photo by Will taylor. Courtesy Australia Council for the Arts
- Fiona Hall, Ulnus glabra/Scotch elm (from the series When My Boat Comes In) 2002, Courtesy of the artist © the artist, Credit Clayton Glen