New Zealand Pavilion
55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Front Door Out Back
Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà
Riva degli Schiavoni, Castello
30122 Venezia Italia
Commissioner: Jenny Harper, Director, Christchurch Art Gallery
Deputy Commissioner: Heather Galbraith, Head of the School of Fine Arts, College of Creative Arts,
Curator:Justin Paton, Senior Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery
Acclaimed sculptor, photographer and installation artist Bill Culbert will represent New Zealand at
the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.
Culbert(b. 1935) is a maker of elegant, poetic and often dazzling sculptural installations that harness
the qualities of electric light and make striking use of found materials. From suitcases pierced with
fluorescent tubes, to chandeliers of repurposed furniture, through to vast arrays of reclaimed plastic
containers, Culbert’s artworks celebrate the qualities of common things and invite us to pay fresh
attention to the world they come from. While renowned for its economy, wit and ‘light touch’,
Culbert’s art also, in the words of critic Ian Wedde, “conveys an ethical challenge: to be alert, to
participate, to converse”.
“Bill makes marvellous work, constantly re-investigating how light works and revitalising how we
think of it,” says New Zealand’s Venice Biennale Commissioner, Jenny Harper. “Venice is a wonderful
platform for us to celebrate his individual achievements and to continue to present the richness of
this country’s visual arts practice. It will be fascinating to see how he responds to a venue that is
both spatially and historically rich.”
About Bill Culbert
Bill Culbert was born in 1935 in Port Chalmers, New Zealand. He trained as a painter in the 1950s at the Canterbury University School of Art in New Zealand and gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London in 1957. In the 1960s he began to experiment with light and movement, and since the 1970s his art has encompassed photography, electric light, and found objects.
Culbert has had numerous solo exhibitions in New Zealand, England, Europe, the United States, and Australia, and appeared in many group exhibitions. He has also produced major public sculptures in Christchurch, London, Auckland and Wellington. His art is surveyed in Ian Wedde’s Making Light Work (Auckland University Press, 2009).
Culbert resides in London and southern France, returning regularly to New Zealand to make and exhibit work. Recent exhibitions include 180° x 2 Whanganui (2009) and Everyday Irregular (2011) at the Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui; Singular Companions at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; Hut at Sue Crockford Gallery, Auckland; Light Marks at Laurent Delaye, London; and Concrete Parallels at the Centro Brasileiro Britânico and Dan Galeria in São Paulo (all 2012).
Bill Culbert is represented by:
Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Sydney
Laurent Delaye, London
Fouladi Projects, San Francisco
Galerie Martagon, Malaucène
Catherine Issert, St Paul de Vence
Galerie Six Friedrich, Munich.
The 2013 New Zealand Pavilion will be at the Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà (La Pietà) on the Riva
degli Schiavoni. The centrally-located complex offers four exhibition spaces, including an outdoor
“The venue worked very well for the New Zealand presentation in 2005,” says New Zealand Arts
Council Chair, Alastair Carruthers, “and it is exciting that for 2013 we have been able to secure a larger exhibition complex, allowing Bill to respond to and create a journey through some very
different spaces, and extending New Zealand’s presence to the busy edge of the Grand Canal.’’
Starting out as a painter at the Canterbury University School of Art and at the Royal College of Art,
London, in the 1960s Culbert began to experiment with light and movement, and since the 1970s his
art has encompassed photography, electric light and found objects. Since 1960 he has had more
than 100 solo exhibitions in New Zealand, England, Europe, the United States and Australia, and
appeared in many group exhibitions. He has also produced major public sculpturesin spaces ranging
from the Millennium Dome in London to the Wellington waterfront in New Zealand.
In 2012, Culbert’s work has been seen in solo shows at Sue Crockford Gallery, Auckland and Laurent
Delaye, London, and in group shows at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and the Auckland Art Gallery
Toi o Tamaki. Later this year, a substantial selection of his early paintings and experimental light
works will appear in a survey of British and Brazilian Concrete Artists at the Centro Brasileiro
Britânico in São Paulo, Brazil.
The curator of New Zealand’s 2013 Venice Biennale exhibition is Justin Paton, senior curator,
Christchurch Art Gallery. Paton is one of the country’s foremost curators and an award-winning
writer and television presenter on the arts.
New Zealand’s arts development agency, Creative New Zealand, funds and administers New
Zealand’s presence at the Venice Biennale. Creative New Zealand acknowledges the support of
Christchurch Art Gallery and Massey University in the realisation of the 2013 exhibition.
New Zealand has exhibited at the Venice Biennale since 2001 with exhibitions by Peter Robinson and
Jacqueline Fraser (2001), Michael Stevenson (2003), et al. (2005), Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard
(2009) and Michael Parekowhai (2011).
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