Irish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale

Lismore Castle Arts announce that Ireland will be represented by Corban Walker at the 54th International Art Exhibition/La Biennale di Venezia, 4 June–27 November 2011. The Commissioner of the Irish Pavilion is Emily-Jane Kirwan, a Director of The Pace Gallery, New York, and the Curator is Eamonn Maxwell, Director of Lismore Castle Arts, Ireland.

Corban Walker will install three new, site-specific works at the Irish Pavilion, which is located at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà.

Walker is known for his sculptures and installations relating to architectural scale and spatial perception and utilising industrial materials like steel, aluminium and glass. At the height of four-feet tall, the artist’s personal relationship between self and the built environment is fundamental to the way he defines and develops his work. Many of Walker’s works explore minimalism from the artist’s unique point of view, responding to rule-based, mathematical principles that derive from his own height and perspective.

The works at the Pavilion will interact with the historic architecture of the Pietà and are all, in some way, transparent. Two of the works, Modular and Transparent Wall, consist of vinyl drawings mapped onto the front and back windows of the space according to mathematic modulars. Though the patterns may appear random, there is an overlying order. At the centre of the Pavilion will be a sculpture titled Please Adjust comprising 160 interlocking stainless-steel cubes, dominating the interior architecture. The open-framed cubes interlock to create a fragile structure that supports itself, though one alteration could destroy the existing configuration and create a new one—each manifestation of the work is unique.

“The work exercises the viewers in considering their relationships with themselves and in how they participate and communicate with their own surroundings,” explains Walker. It intrigued him that the Pavilion is open at both ends, with each offering a different destination—a canal or a garden. There is no front and back, and no beginning or end. In the past, Walker has used translucent materials like glass and Plexiglas to create his work; this time, the installation itself will be transparent—the only opaque element will be the viewer.

The Irish Pavilion at Venice is located at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, 3703 Calle della Pietà, Castello. Calle della Pietà is mid-way between Piazza San Marco and the Arsenale, off Via Riva degli Schiavoni.

For more information, visit, download the free app Corban Walker: Ireland at Venice 2011 for iPhone, iPad and Android, or visit

Ireland’s participation at the Venice Biennale is an initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Culture Ireland is the state agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide, working under the aegis of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Culture Ireland supports opportunities for Irish artists to present their work at strategic international festivals, venues, showcases and arts markets. The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon is the national agency for funding, developing and promoting the arts in Ireland.

Previous Irish artists who have represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale include Sarah Browne and Gareth Kennedy (2009, Commissioner Caoimhín Corrigan); Gerard Byrne (2007, Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick); Stephen Brandes, Mark Garry, Ronan McCrea, Sarah Pierce, Isabel Nolan and Walker and Walker (2005, Commissioner Sarah Glennie)

Lismore Castle Arts, a not-for-profit initiative, was founded in 2005 with the aim of presenting and promoting internationally significant contemporary art to audiences in Ireland and beyond

Image: Corban Walker. Photo by William F. Scanga.

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