USW at La Biennale

La Biennale Helen Sear_company of trees.jpg

After months of preparation and planning, the 56th International Arts Festival, La Biennale di Venezia, gets underway this weekend, and the University of South Wales is involved.Helen Sear

Dr Helen Sear, a Reader in Film, Photography and Digital Media at USW, is exhibiting her work for ‘Wales in Venice, having been commissioned by the Arts Council for Wales. Helen becomes the first woman to represent Wales at La Biennale as a solo artist.

‘...the rest is smoke’ is curated by Ffotogallery and features a suite of five new works, which are both rooted in the local and familiar landscapes of Wales, and respond to the wider context of the Venice Biennale. The exhibition is housed in the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, a church and former convent in the Castello area of Venice.La Biennale Helen Sear_caetera fumus.jpg

The title of Helen Sear’s exhibition is taken from an inscription in Mantegna’s last painting of St. Sebastian, now housed in the Ca’ d’Oro in Venice: 'Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus', or, 'nothing is stable if not divine, the rest is smoke'.

Known as one of Wales’s most significant contemporary artists, Helen Sear continues to explore sensory ideas and expressions, vision, touch, and the re-presentation of the nature of experience with particular reference to the human and animal body and her immediate environment in rural Wales and France. Since moving to Wales in 1984, the artist has continued to exhibit and teach in Wales and internationally, with recent solo exhibitions in Quebec, Canada, New York and Stuttgart.

In the videos below, Helen discusses some of her new exhibits for ‘Wales in Venice’: 


Tobias Zielony is a graduate of USW’s Documentary Photography and is one of six artists chosen to represent Germany.La Biennale Tobias Zielony_Portrait.jpg

The German pavilion has been transformed into a setting that focuses on the presence of images in contemporary life. The exhibition encourages its visitors to reflect upon the material and political nature of images in the digital age, in a globalised world.

Starting out from four aspects and ideas – migrating images, participation of the actors, light as an elementary image carrier and the roof as a place of freedom – a contextual and formal force field will be established, from which this pavilion will derive its tension. Classical questions of representation – the balance of power between subject and object, the old asymmetry between photographer and model – will pose themselves in a new way in the light of the digital images. A contemporary understanding of the “photographic” element as a central position of documentary work is open for discussion. All works of art have been created especially for the German Pavilion, and shown there for the first time.Tobias.jpg

Images and videos courtesy of Helen Sear, Lua Ribiera, Ffotogallery and Tobias Zielony.

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