Graduates from the College of Fine Arts will dominate Australia's representation at the 2009 Venice Biennale art exhibition.
The Venice Biennale is widely regarded as the most prestigious event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar. Three of the five artists chosen to represent Australia are COFA alumni.
Master of Fine Arts graduate Shaun Gladwell will return to Venice after receiving worldwide acclaim at the last Biennale exhibition. This year, as Australia's senior representative, Shaun will present his work MADDESTMAXIMVS in the Australian Pavilion. Influenced by the Australian desert landscape and Mad Max movies, Shaun's work is a suite of videos accompanied by sound, photographic and sculptural works.
COFA graduates Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro will take part in a group exhibition, Once Removed, at The Ludoteca, a former convent in Venice's Castello district.
Once Removed features three installations unified by themes of displacement and Indigenous and environmental issues. Claire and Sean's installation is a five-metre tower of 195,774 video tapes commandeering a 16th century church.
The group exhibition is curated by COFA academic Felicity Fenner. Felicity curated the 2008 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art and Primavera 2005, the annual exhibition for early career artists at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Joining the artists will be a group of Master of Arts Administration students who will complete a special project at the Biennale under Felicity's leadership. Other Masters students are undertaking internships and research papers based on COFA's Venice Biennale project. As well, COFA Art Education students have been working with the Australia Council to develop the print and web-based educational material for the Australian exhibitions and artists and they too will be travelling to Venice.
"I am delighted for our graduates, and also for Felicity," said the Dean of COFA, Professor Ian Howard. "To have so many COFA alumni and current students involved
in such a prestigious festival, and representing Australia, reflects the outstanding standard of our students and staff."
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