National Museum of Art Lecture Series: Representing Wales at the Venice Biennale
David Alston, Arts Director, Arts Council of Wales, in conversation with Merlin James, Laura Ford and Tim Davies.
The Venice Biennale was established in 1895 and remains one of the most important and prestigious events in the international, contemporary art world.
Since 2003, Wales has been independently represented as a devolved nation. For those artists who are chosen to exhibit it is a key international platform. This lecture explores Wales’s representation in Venice and also hears from three artists who have been selected to exhibit for Wales.
As Arts Director, David Alston is responsible for developing and promoting the arts in Wales. He has more than 25 years experience in managing, leading and creating successful arts organisations. David held the post of Keeper of Art at the National Museum and Galleries of Wales in the 1990s. He later moved to The Lowry at Salford as Galleries Director before becoming its acting Chief Executive. David has held curatorial and senior management positions in galleries, museum and arts facilities, including Deputy Director of Arts in Sheffield. He has also worked as a freelance arts and cultural consultant.
Laura Ford (b. Cardiff, 1961) represented Wales at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. She studied initially at Bath Academy of Art from 1978 before completing a masters degree at Chelsea School of Art in 1983. Ford came to prominence in 2000 when she exhibited at the British Art Show 5. She is recognised internationally as a leading Britain sculptor and her work is represented in both private and public collections including Tate, London, National Museum Cardiff, the Arts Council Collection, London.
Merlin James (b. Cardiff, 1960) represented Wales at the 52nd Biennale in 2007. He began his art studies at the University of Wales Institute in 1978, graduating from the Central School of Art in 1982 and Royal College of Art in 1986. He is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York; Mummery+Schnelle, London; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin. James' writing on art has also appeared extensively in the Burlington Magazine and elsewhere, and he has authored texts for catalogues and books, including most recently William Nicholson: A Catalogue Raisonné (Yale/Modern Art Press. 2011). His most recent solo show was at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublln.
Tim Davies (b. Haverfordwest, 1960) was selected to represent Wales at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. After working and studying in London and Norwich he returned to Wales in 1994. He won the Mostyn Open in 1997, was awarded the Gold Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2003, and was selected for the inaugural Artes Mundi International Visual Art Prize in 2004. Davies’ work is represented in both private and public collections including the Arts Council Collection, London, the Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea and the National Museum Cardiff. He has secured an international reputation for a diverse body of work using a wide range of media including drawing, film and installation.
Supported by the Art Fund.