The Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice 2015 presentation is …the rest is smoke by artist Helen Sear, a Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales and curated by Ffotogallery.
…the rest is smoke comprises a suite of new work conceived for and presented in five discrete spaces within the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, a church and former convent in the Castello area of Venice. The title of the exhibition is taken from an inscription in Mantegna’s last painting of St. Sebastian, now housed in the Ca’ d’Oro in Venice: Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus.
Ideas of mortality and temporality are explored in a series of new works in which agricultural landscapes marked for production and consumption are seen to exist simultaneously as magical spaces, imprinting themselves on the body and mind of the viewer. Sear’s photographic and video work examines the image as sculptural form whereby the artist integrates different speeds of looking, contrasting physical scale, colour and vivid material presence. The individual works resonate strongly with each other and with the architectural site of the exhibition.
Our accompanying website www.experiencewalesinvenice.org offers a unique insight into …the rest is smoke exhibition from its development process and installation to the launch week itself. We are making available a wealth of resources for online audiences, such as artist interviews, documentation of the exhibition as it evolves, a gallery of works, essays, as well sound and photography that capture the excitement of the Venice Biennale.
Experience Wales in Venice provides a platform for the team of 15 artists who are managing the venue through its 7 month exhibition to tell their own stories about their experience of working as part of the Biennale and engaging with international audiences, in a variety of ways including drawing, writing, photography, video and interactive media.
We hope that the website will foster an ongoing rich dialogue around the work of Helen Sear, and provide an important legacy for Wales in Venice 2015.