Venue: Offsite
Dates: Saturday 13 May - Sunday 26 November

Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, Fondamenta San Gioacchino, Castello

James Richards to Represent Cymru Yn Fenis Wales In Venice 2017


James Richards will represent Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2017 with a solo presentation curated by Chapter and commissioned by Arts Council of Wales for the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale. The exhibition will be held at the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, 13 May – 26 November 2017 (preview 10, 11 & 12 May), and is free to visit.

Cardiff-born Richard’s interest lies in the possibility of the personal amidst the chaos of mass media. He combines video, sound and still images to create installations and live events. His work makes use of an ever-growing bank of video material that includes fragments of cinema, works by other artists, stray camcorder footage, murky late night TV and archive research. Carefully constructed installations involve sculptural, cinematic, acoustic, musical and curatorial considerations to create works of extraordinary intensity. Following a solo exhibition at the Chisenhale Gallery in 2011, his Turner prize nomination in 2014 and recent collaborative projects between ICA, London, Bergen Kunsthall and Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, this opportunity comes at a pivotal moment to consolidate Richards’ practice at one of the most significant international platforms for the visual arts.

Richards’ presentation for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2017 – his first major commission at an international biennale – will consist of a new, site responsive sound installation and a suite of additional works containing overlapping archival samples and musical extracts repeated or reworked into different forms. He will collaborate with students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and, through a partnership residency, will explore the archives of the National Sound and Screen Archive in Aberystwyth. As part of the project, the artist will also curate a group show for Chapter in Autumn 2017 after which his solo Venice presentation will be shown in February 2018.

On being selected for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2017 James Richards commented: ‘It’s a huge honour and privilege to be representing Wales at the Venice Biennale 2017. I’m truly surprised and thrilled by the selection and very excited to start working on a new work for this unique event.’

Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Art, Chapter and curator of Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice 2017 commented: ‘James Richards is one of the most original and exciting artists of his generation and we are absolutely thrilled to be working with him to commission a new body of work for presentation in Venice.’

Phil George, Chair of Arts Council of Wales said: ‘Arts Council of Wales is delighted to be presenting James Richards at the Venice Biennale in 2017. James is an exciting and significant Welsh artist who has a growing reputation in Europe and beyond. As such, he is the perfect choice to represent our country at such a prestigious international Biennale.’

Arts Council of Wales has commissioned artists to present at Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice at the Venice Biennale since 2003, celebrating the best of emerging and established artists from Wales. The project is managed by Arts Council of Wales with support and collaboration from the Welsh Government, Wales Arts International and the British Council. Each project, selected by a call for proposals, is overseen by an Advisory Committee chaired by a member of Arts Council of Wales and members from National Museum Wales and Artes Mundi.

James Richards’ commission is curated by Hannah Firth, Director of Visual Art, Chapter, Cardiff. Chapter is a multi-artform venue in Cardiff, Wales that presents and produces international art, performance and film. It is significant for Chapter – a place that Richards sites as extremely influential on his early career – to create a project with the artist both in his hometown of Cardiff and on an international platform in Venice.

Wales’ presence at Venice reflects back into Wales through initiatives such as the Invigilator Plus programme that offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators. Participants have the opportunity to develop their creative networks and be supported in the research and production of their own work both in Venice and in Cardiff. Talks and events contextualising Richards’ wider practice are being developed in partnership with the artist-run organisation G39 and will take place in Wales throughout 2017.

James Richards (b. Cardiff, 1983) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at Cardiff School of Art and Design before completing a degree in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design London. Recent solo exhibitions include Request and Antisongs, ICA London; Crumb Mahogany, Bergen Kunsthall and Radio at Night, Museum of Contemporary Art Bordeaux, all 2016; James Richards, Kunstverein Munchen, 2015 and Not Blacking Out Just Turning The Lights Off, Chisenhale London (2011). Richards was a recipient of the 2014 Ars Viva Prize for artists and received the 2012 Jarman Award for film and video. He was shortlisted for the 2014 Turner Prize.

Photo by Andy Paradise

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