Simon Denny expands his Venice Biennale project

The Marciana Library
Marco Polo Airport

Simon Denny at the Venice Biennale in 2015

Simon Denny’s art project for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale has gained an exciting new dimension, with the finalising of a contract to locate an additional installation in Venice’s Marco Polo Airport.

The commissioner for New Zealand at Venice, Heather Galbraith, says Simon Denny’s New Zealand pavilion will be split across two sites: one modern, on the Venetian mainland and one historical, at the heart of the city. Simon Denny will be the first Biennale artist to use the terminal at Marco Polo Airport, designed by architect Gian Paolo Mar. Ms Galbraith says, “Here, people converge from all over the world. For most visitors, it is their first point of contact with Venice.”

She says, “Extending through the arrivals lounge, Simon’s installation will operate between national borders, mixing the languages of commercial display, contemporary airport design and historical representations of the value of knowledge.”

The other half of the pavilion will be the Marciana Library in Piazza San Marco, designed by Jacopo Sansovino during the Renaissance. Creative New Zealand finalised this venue and announced it in August this year.

Decorated with paintings by artists including Titian and Tintoretto, depicting philosophy and wisdom, the library is an allegory for the benefits of acquiring knowledge. It also houses historical maps and globes, including Fra Mauro’s early world map, containing information obtained by travellers, merchants and navigators including Marco Polo. It is one of the first European maps to depict Japan, for example.

Ms Galbraith says, “The installation in the library will draw analogies between this spectacular but obsolete map and the way the world is mapped and managed.”

“Each site offers its own rich context, which will become part of Simon’s exhibition and we are thrilled to have successfully negotiated such a dynamic component of the New Zealand pavilion for Venice 2015.”

Funding for the airport installation has been arranged with the help of the artist's galleries and private donors.

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