Richard Bell’s Venice Biennale Slide Night
10 August 2019
In May, during the 2019 Venice Biennale Vernissage, Richard Bell wrapped a replica of the Australian Pavilion in chains, put it on a barge, and sailed it in the Venetian lagoon. Bell also presented his ongoing project Embassy (2013–), pitching a tent at the Giardini, as part of PERSONAL STRUCTURES—Identities, organised by the European Cultural Centre, in alignment with the Venice Biennale.
Both art spectacle and critique, Bell’s Venice project began after he was shortlisted but not selected to be Australia’s official representation at the Venice Biennale. The project was initially funded by the artist himself, Milani Gallery, and a crowd funding campaign that was driven by inclusivity and true community spirit as an act of art activism. Australia Council for the Arts and Arts QLD contributed to the growing community support in the realisation of Bell’s Venice project.
Join Bell as he shares stories surrounding this monumental feat of working outside institutional frameworks—of not waiting for permission. Bell will address the key themes of Embassy (2013–): the interrogation of the impacts of colonialism and global capitalism and the responses from his invited guests, leading First Nations artists and academics from around the globe.
The conversation will be moderated by one of the collaborators on the project, Bec Mac.
One of Australia’s most significant artists, Richard Bell explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial, and Indigenous art production. He established his practice alongside a generation of Aboriginal activists, and has remained committed to the politics of Aboriginal emancipation and self-determination. Bell is represented in most major Australian National and State collections, and has exhibited in a number of solo exhibitions at important institutions in Australia and America.
Bell has presented Embassy (2013–), at the 20th Biennale of Sydney; Cairns Indigenous Art Fair; the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; and the recurrent biannual exhibition the Jerusalem Show, Israel.