Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council.

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Proud to promote new work at one of the world’s most prestigious visual art festivals, Scotland + Venice plays a vital role in helping to raise the profile of Scotland as one of the most vibrant countries for the production, promotion and  presentation of contemporary art.

The Venice Biennale, established in 1895, is the oldest and arguably the most significant international platform within the increasingly global art world. Consequently Venice has been the site for presenting some of the most powerful art made throughout the 20th and into the 21st century.

Scotland + Venice brings new work from Scotland into this highly visible context with the primary aim; to promote Scotland as a centre of excellence for the Visual Arts. It is a partnership project managed by Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and the British Council. The partnership is the main funder and commissioning body, appointing a different curatorial partner for each Biennale.

The first edition in 2003 was entitled Zenomap, a ground-breaking show featuring new work by Simon Starling, Clare Barclay and Jim Lambie. Curated by Francis McKee and Kay Pallister, the exhibition was complemented by an opening programme of events and screenings featuring the work of more than 25 other artists. Zenomap made a confident statement about the strength and diversity of art being made in Scotland and proved to be a highlight of the Biennale.

Since then Scotland + Venice has gone from strength to strength, working closely with key arts organisations and experienced curators to present some of the most influential artists working in Scotland today – Cathy Wilkes, Alex Pollard, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan, Charles Avery, Rosalind Nashashibi, Lucy Skaer, Henry Coombes, Tony Swain, Louise Hopkins, Martin Boyce, Karla Black, Duncan Campbell, Corin Sworn, Hayley Tompkins and for 2015 a new commission with Graham Fagen.

Scotland + Venice aims to complement the other UK presentations at the Biennale and works closely with the teams for the British Pavilion in the Giardini and with colleagues in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our aim is always to make the strongest impact we can within this internationally significant context.

Key events taking place in Scotland in 2015/ 2016.



Claire Barclay represented Scotland in the 2003 Venice Biennale within the group exhibition ‘Zenomap’. Barclay displayed large scale installations of contrasting materials, drawing on her interests in history, antiquity, nature and architecture. In the development of her work, Claire Barclay has moved to using self-made objects, created partly in situ. Working in this way she is able to adopt the space into her work. Her conscious decision to move away from using ready-mades in her work allows for ambiguity and limits any singular message or meaning being derived from the piece. She is interested in the way audiences react to her work; their physical and emotional responses, how they invent function and the anthropomorphism that may occur. Last year Claire Barclay was commissioned by Hospitalfield to make a new work for ‘Generation 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland’. Barclay devised and performed a new live work with choreographer Janice Parker entitled ‘Underside\Disturbance’. The work, comprised of a series of actions, drew on the unique architecture of the space and linked back to a previous dance based piece made at the time of Barclay’s exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2011. #ScotlandVenice Image: Claire Barclay installation as part of Scotland and Venice 2003, curated by Kay Pallister and Francis McKee

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