Cathy Wilkes

curated by Dr Zoe Whitley

British Pavilion, Giardini 

May 11 – Nov 24, 2019

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Press Release

Cathy Wilkes is representing Great Britain at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, presenting a major solo exhibition of new work opening on 11 May 2019 and running till 24 November 2019. This is the third time in a row that a solo female artist has been chosen to fill the British Pavilion, following Phyllida Barlow in 2017 and Sarah Lucas in 2015.

Wilkes' exhibition is made entirely of new work, including sculptural installations, object arrangements, paintings and prints, flowing from room to room.

Wilkes is one of the most important artists of her generation, having emerged in the late 1990s and exhibited with greater frequently over the past fifteen years. Her individual installations and larger exhibitions are marked by arrangements of objects that appear both precarious and precise, vulnerable and brutal. She often recomposes older pieces into new variations, and has more recently applied a similar approach to the design of her solo exhibitions.

Through the measured process of creating her works, Wilkes experiments with all kinds of media and materials, and collects treasures and ingredients. Production - or what we see in the end - is the accumulation of all of these constituent parts. Her work recalls inchoate visions of interiors and places of loss, and meditates on the nature of love and the coexistence of life and death. Her work also shows the disappearance and dematerialisation of life and the absence and anonymity of the author. Her works, which  are all Untitled, render us all non-initiates; together we have equal capacity.

Dr Zoe Whitley, Curator, Tate Modern and Curator of the British Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2019 said: "We are excited to present a completely new body of work by Cathy Wilkes. Her inventiveness, curiosity and unique thinking have produced something as ambitious as it is captivating. Wilkes creates space for us to experience the full emotive potential of her materials and invites us to share in her unmistakable aesthetic."


Photo by Cristiano Corte © British Council.
Courtesy of the Artist, The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels

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