Arts Council of Wales | Cymru yn Fenis / Wales in Venice 2017

Cymru yn Fenis / Wales in Venice 2017


The presentation of James Richard’s exhibition at Chapter in Cardiff will include works especially commissioned for the Venice Biennale in 2017. The exhibition will also present work by the artist from 2011 and include a film programme selected by the artist featuring a number of pioneers of British video art.

Preview: 23 February 6-8PM

Exhibition: 24 February - 26 May 2018

Tue / Wed / Sat / Sun 12-6pm
Thu / Fri 12-8pm
Closed Monday

Read the full press release by Chapter Arts Centre here.

Associated Events

G39 is developing a programme of events inspired by the Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice exhibition by James Richards. These events will be spaces to explore broader ideas relating to James’ work and the themes raised within the exhibition. The events will also give us the chance to consider the exhibition in the context of Venice, and the presence of Wales within the Venice Biennale.

G39 have worked with James Richards and Chapter to develop three themes for these events. As a whole the themes form a set of concentric circles, beginning with the singularity, the individual, the absolute; then widening out to become more knowing, more diverse and relative; until at the outer edge ideas stretch to abstraction, a public or anonymous corpus. At the centre of these is the first event: The Voice.

The Voice

Saturday 24 February 2018, 2-4pm

£5 / £3 concession

Canton Uniting Church, Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF5 1LQ

This event takes ‘The Voice’ as a thematic device to explore the work of James Richards. Through the voice we look at the individual body, the coming of age in both biological and cultural forms, and the moment of ‘finding your voice’.

The event includes films by Meredith Monk, Charlmaigne Palestine, and Anne Maguire. There will be a reading by Giles Bailey of the text Voce di Testa written by Chris McCormack specifically for Music for the Gift as part of the Venice Biennale.

This will be a unique opportunity to get fresh perspectives on James’ work and exploration of the voice that is both melancholy and celebratory.

G39 has been commissioned by Chapter to develop this programme in dialogue with James Richards. The events are supported by the Arts Council of Wales and have been made possible with Art Fund support.

James Richards

James Richards: Wales in Venice 2017

Cardiff-born Richards’ interest lies in the possibility of the private amidst the public chaos of quotidian media. His work makes use of an ever-growing bank of material that includes fragments of cinema, works by other artists, stray camcorder footage, murky late night TV, film soundtracks and archival research.

Richards’ presentation for Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice is inspired by the space of the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice and the artist’s ongoing exploration of the emotive power of appropriated material.

James Richards: Music for the gift is curated by Hannah Firth and managed by Chapter.

James Richards and Steve Reinke, What weakens the flesh is the flesh itself (installation view), digital video with sound, 2017. Copyright: James Richards and Steve Reinke; courtesy Wales in Venice. Photo Jamie Woodley

The Learning and Events Programme

Wales’ presence at Venice reflects back into Wales through initiatives such as the Invigilator Plus programme that offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators. Opportunities for students to participate have been developed in 2017 as a pilot with Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Talks and events contextualising Richards’ wider practice, along with the Invigilator Plus Training Programme has been developed in partnership with the artist-run organisation g39 and will take place in Wales throughout 2017 and 2018.

Read more about the 18 Invigilators visiting Venice.

Venice Biennale

La Biennale di Venezia is the largest and most prestigious visual arts exhibition in the world. Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice is commissioned and managed by Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International with support and collaboration from the Welsh Government and British Council. It’s selected by a call for proposals.

Arts Council of Wales has commissioned artists to present at Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice as a Collateral Event at the Venice Biennale since 2003, celebrating the best of emerging and established artists from Wales. Previous artists include Helen Sear, Bedwyr Williams, Tim Davies and John Cale.

The rationale for presenting in Venice and what we seek to achieve is reflected in the partnerships aims:

  • Present the most exciting and creative artists associated with Wales.
  • Focus international and national attention on the diverse range of critically valued work in, from and to do with Wales.
  • Create international experiences and connections for galleries, curators and artists that will develop the visuals arts in Wales.
  • Celebrate Wales in the World as dynamic, culturally engaged and forward-looking.

The presence at the Venice Biennale is underpinned by Arts Council of Wales with a core budget of £400,000 across two years to develop the project.

Press information

Welsh media:
Betsan Moses / T +44 (0)29 2044 1307

Other UK & international media:
Lisa Hill at SUTTON / T +44 (0)20 7183 3577

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