Tayside and Central Scotland

Scottish artist opens solo exhibition at Venice Biennale

Graham Fagen
Image caption Mr Fagen is a leading contemporary artist as well as a university lecturer

A Dundee artist has opened Scotland's representation at the Venice Biennale arts festival in Italy.

Graham Fagen, a lecturer at Dundee University, has launched a solo exhibition at the show, which is one of the world's largest and most prestigious visual arts events.

Millions of people are expected to visit the Biennale over six months.

Mr Fagan's collection of sculptures, drawings and audio-visual installations was put together in Arbroath.

The university lecturer and contemporary artist was chosen to represent the "Scotland + Venice" partnership, a linkup between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council Scotland, which has been contributing to the Venice Biennale for seven years.

Image copyright Ruth Clark / Scotland + Venice 2015
Image caption The work was curated and commissioned by Hospitalfield House in Arbroath
Image copyright Ruth Clark / Scotland + Venice 2015
Image caption The exhibition will be on show at the Venice Biennale for six months

Mr Fagen, who teaches PhD, Masters and final-year honours students at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, has previously taken part in the group's representation in Venice, but this is his first solo exhibition there.

His specially-created body of work, commissioned and curated by Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, is being exhibited at Palazzo Fontana, a Venetian palace off the Grand Canal in the Cannaregio district of Venice.

The complex collection involves a number of collaborations, including work with composer Sally Beamish, the musicians of the Scottish Ensemble, and reggae singer Ghetto Priest.

Mr Fagen said: "The Venice Biennale offers an exciting platform to showcase my work in a truly international context.

"I am honoured to have been recognised and chosen by the Scotland + Venice partnership to participate in Scotland's presentation at this year's Biennale.

"Having their support has enabled me to work collaboratively with the renowned composer Sally Beamish and to rekindle my long term collaborations with producer Adrian Sherwood and the fantastic vocals of Ghetto Priest."

Image copyright Ruth Clark / Scotland + Venice 2015
Image caption Mr Fagen's collection includes drawings, sculptures and audio-visual installations
Image copyright Didier Descouens
Image caption Mr Fagen's work has gone on show at the Palazzo Fontana off the Grand Canal in Venice

Amanda Catto, visual arts portfolio manager at Creative Scotland, said: "Scotland + Venice has a long established history of promoting new work by leading Scottish artists at la Biennale di Venezia.

"Graham Fagen's presentation will continue this tradition of showcasing some of the best Scottish contemporary art within the context of one of the world's most important exhibitions of visual art."

The Venice Biennale, which has taken place in the Italian city every two years since 1895, focuses on contemporary arts, with separate events for dance, architecture, cinema and theatre.

Countries each have their own "pavilion" in which to showcase their artists, with Sarah Lucas providing the UK's entry this year. In recent years the Scotland + Venice scheme allows Scotland to have its own exhibition area distinct from the UK one.

The 56th Venice Biennale runs until 22 November.

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