Launch of Ireland’s Representation at the 2024 Venice Biennale

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D. today, Thursday 15 February, launched Ireland’s Representation at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia at the Mansion House. Artist Eimear Walshe, with curator Sara Greavu and Project Arts Centre, has been selected to represent Ireland at the prestigious event. The Department, through Culture Ireland, commissions Ireland’s representation in Venice in partnership with the Arts Council.

The Venice Architecture Biennale, which will run from 20 April to 24 November 2024, remains the most important global platform for the exhibition of visual arts involving the public, members of civil society, individuals and institutions. It offers a unique opportunity for Irish artists to engage with international audiences

Responding to this year’s theme, Foreigners Everywhere – selected by curator of the Biennale, Adriano Pedrosa, the Irish Pavilion as it’s known is entitled ROMANTIC IRELAND. It will comprise a multi-channel video installation and an operatic soundtrack housed in an immersive earth-built sculpture. Eimear Walshe’s project explores the complex politics of collective building through the Irish tradition of the ‘meitheal’: a group of workers, neighbours, kith and kin who come together to build.

Minister Martin said: “I wish Eimear Walshe, Sara Greavu, and Project Arts Centre the very best of luck as they represent Ireland at the 2024 Venice Biennale. This is an enormous achievement and opportunity for both artist and country. Participation at the Venice Biennale increases awareness of Ireland’s strong visual arts sector and provides the artist with an international platform for their work. My Department through Culture Ireland commissions Ireland at Venice in partnership with the Arts Council, and it is an important date in our cultural calendar. I’m wishing everyone involved the very best of luck at the Biennale this year.”

The video work was shot on location at the sustainable skills centre, Common Knowledge, based deep in the Burren, on Ireland’s west coast. It features a group of seven performers led by choreographer Mufutau Yusuf. The soundtrack is an opera describing the scene of an eviction, composed by Amanda Feery with a libretto by Walshe.

Ireland at Venice 2024 will build on Ireland’s strong presence at the La biennale di Venezia. In recent years, Ireland has been represented by Niamh O’Malley with TBG+S and by Eva Rothschild in an exhibition curated by Mary Cremin. Project Arts Centre previously presented Jesse Jones’ Tremble Tremble at Venice in 2017, curated by Tessa Giblin.

Following its presentation in Venice, ROMANTIC IRELAND will tour Ireland in 2025 supported by the Arts Council. Recreating elements of the installation in each venue, the Irish tour will enable the Irish public to experience Eimear Walshe’s work. A film documentary of the project is also being made.

ROMANTIC IRELAND is representative of what Sara Greavu the project’s curator describes as:
“a swelling Irish cultural revival, increasingly visible across artforms that has received national
and international interest. Walshe’s work is not nostalgic or relying on imagined mythologies,
and it is not nativist, but is opening out and reconfiguring, sensitively displacing and embracing
these elements as it prefigures alternative social relationships.”

Photo credit: Faolán Carey