Venice Biennale

The big four

Susanna Beaumont of Doggerfisher Gallery chats to Isla Leaver-Yap about her artists at this year’s Venice Biennale.

As one of the most varied line-ups that Scotland has presented at this year’s biennale, Doggerfisher’s Lucy Skaer, Rosalind Nashashibi, Louise Hopkins and Charles Avery will head out to the Scottish Palazzo Zenobio to make new work for their presentation, along with fellow artists Henry Coombes and Tony Swain. This year’s Scottish curator and selector Philip Long has remarked on the heterogeneity of the Venice Biennale itself, while Beaumont echoes this sentiment in the Scotland selection: ‘I really dislike the question, “what is Scottish art?” There’s nothing stylistically to link these artists and that’s part of the excitement this year.’

Beaumont outlines the artists: ‘From filmmaking with Rosalind, to the works on paper by Louise, to Lucy’s drawings and furniture, and then Charles who does works on paper but whose latest work was a series of sculptures - these are four artists that cannot be confined to one particular medium,’ Beaumont explains. ‘All six artists together show a real diversity.’

Acting as a support to both curator and artists, Beaumont comments on the anticipation surrounding the greater presence that both Scotland and Britain will have at the forthcoming Biennale, noting that the selection displays ‘a maturity that isn’t resorting to trying to define a “Scottish” art.’

While the number of biennials has exploded in the past decade, Beaumont believes that the oldest of them all still holds relevance as a place of artistic ambition. ‘Venice gives an affirmation of the artist,’ she states. But she is also quick to dispel any myths of Italian art glamour. ‘When you tour you’ve got to know the nearest B&Q and all the good wall-builders,’ she says cutting right to the practical issues.

‘I’m hoping it’s not too hot this year. Not like the year when everyone’s ankles swelled and there was a shortage of plasters.’

Click here for full details of the artists representing Scotland at this year’s Venice Biennale.