Gallery director thrilled with show choice

An artist represented by a Nelson-based gallery director has been selected for next year's Venice Biennale.

The Venice Biennale is an international contemporary art exhibition that takes place every two years.

R H Gallery director Rebecca Hamid represents Christchurch artist Darryn George, who had a sold-out show at Woollaston Estates last year.

Ms Hamid's gallery no longer has a physical space, instead operating virtually - with a website, and at art fairs, biennales and in pop-up exhibition spaces.

R H Gallery was sponsored by Creative New Zealand to take George's works to the Melbourne Art Fair in August, and Ms Hamid said the Venice Biennale was even bigger again.

Ms Hamid said George would be exhibiting at the Palazzo Bembo, transforming a room into a wharenui-like space of contemplation and reflection.

"It's an incredibly good opportunity, because it [the Palazzo Bembo] is such a well-established venue," she said.

George's proposed design was based on filing cabinet folders repeated over and over to fill the room.

The work, which would be made in New Zealand and freighted to Venice for the biennale running from June to November, would feature highly reflective surfaces with a mirror-like finish.

George said in his proposal that the folders originally related to the lives lost in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, however, they took on wider associations in an international context - of knowledge stored, history and information.

Ms Hamid said she was asked to put three or four artists forward for the Palazzo Bembo.

She said the invitation was probably prompted by her involvement with the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, where she represented New Zealand artist Scott Eady.

It would be a huge fundraising effort to get the $200,000 that it would probably cost to get George and his work to Venice, but he had a lot of support in New Zealand and "a lot of people are going to get behind him".

Ms Hamid said George's inclusion in the 2013 biennale was particularly exciting for her, because she was doing a Master of Fine Arts focusing on international artists, "and how you launch them into an international art world".

"My focus was Darryn at the Melbourne Art Fair and Scott at the Gwangju Biennale, but this has taken it to a whole new level," she said.

Creative New Zealand is also taking light sculptor and installation artist Bill Culbert to the Venice Biennale.

The Nelson Mail