The Venice Biennale has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. The Biennale dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre (the Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival ever organised). In 1980, the first Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999 Dance made its debut at the Venice Biennale. The Biennale has an annual attendance of over 400,000 visitors.

The Venice Biennale remains the most important international showcase for contemporary arts. The biennial International Art and Architecture Exhibitions offer a unique opportunity for Ireland to showcase Irish imaginations to the world. The Biennale is a vital platform for Irish artists, curators and commissioners to gain international profile and to generate opportunities for them to present their work outside of Ireland. Irish artists Norah McGuinness and Nano Reid, were the first of many Irish artists to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 1950.

Since 2005, national representation at the Venice Biennale has been an initiative of Culture Ireland, in partnership with the Arts Council.  Both partners consider the Venice Biennale to be an important opportunity for artists' development and for Irish curators to work in an international context. Further information on both organisations is available at www.cultureireland.ie and www.artscouncil.ie.


Irish national pavilions at past International Art and Architecture Exhibitions

2015, artist Sean Lynch represented Ireland at the 56th International Art Exhibition with a work entitled Adventure: Capital 

2014, 'Infra Éireann’ was commissioned and curated by Gary A. Boyd and John McLaughlin represented ireland at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition

2013, Richard Mosse represented Ireland with The Enclave, a multi-media installation at the 55th International Art Exhibition. The commissioner and curator was Anna O’Sullivan, Director of the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland.

2012, heneghan peng architects represented Ireland with Shifting Ground at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition. The commissioner was Elizabeth Francis and curator was John McLaughlin

2011, artist Corban Walker represented Ireland at the 54th International Art Exhibition. The commissioner was Emily-Jane Kirwan and curator Eamonn Maxwell. Exhibition Partners included Crawford College of Art and Design, Lismore Castle Arts, the Pace Gallery and the American Ireland Fund.

2010, of de Blacam and Meagher represented Ireland at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition. The commissioner was the Irish Architecture Foundation, under the directorship of Nathalie Weadick with curators: Tom de Paor, Peter Maybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan. The exhibition partners included the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and the Embassy of Ireland: Italy.

2009, artists Sarah Browne, Gareth Kennedy, Kennedy Browne represented Ireland at the 53rd International Art Exhibition. The commissioner/curator was Caoimhín Corrigan and exhibition partners included the Office of Public Works, Farmleigh Gallery, National College of Art and Design, The Dock, Centre Culturel Irlandais and Leitrim County Council.

2008, the exhibition 'The Lives of Spaces' represented Ireland at the 11th International Architecture Exhibition. Co-commissioners/co-curators were Nathalie Weadick, Director, Irish Architecture Foundation and Hugh Campbell, University College Dublin. Exhibitors included Hassett-Ducatez, Simon Walker & Patrick Lynch, McCullough-Mulvin, Gerry Cahill Architects, Grafton Architects, dePaor architects, TAKA, O’Donnell + Tuomey and Dara McGrath.

2007, Selected works by Gerard Byrne represented Ireland at the 52nd International Art Exhibition. The commissioner was Mike Fitzpatrick with the exhibition partners inclduing the Office of Public Works, Farmleigh Gallery, Murray O Laoire Architects, DHL Ireland, Limerick City Council, IADT, Green on Red Gallery, Carr Associates, Embassy of Ireland [Rome], British Council [Ireland], Lisson Gallery [London] and Fingal County Council.

2006,  the exhibition SubUrban to SuperRural represented Ireland at the 10th International Architecture Exhibition.  The commissioners  were Shane O’Toole, Irish Architecture Foundation and Ciarán ÓGaora. Curators included Michelle Fagan, Paul Kelly, Gary Lysaght and FKL Architects. The exhibitors included Boyd Cody Architects, Bucholz | McEvoy Architects, dePaor architects, FKL architects, Henchion+Reuter Architects, heneghan peng.architects, MacGabhann Architects, ODOS architects and Dominic Stevens architect. 

2005,  7 artists - Stephen Brandes, Mark Garry, Ronan McCrea, Isabel Nolan, Sarah Pierce, Walker and Walker - represented Ireland at the 51st International Art Exhibition. The commissioner was Sarah Glennie and exhibition partners included the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, IADT – Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology through the MA in Visual Arts Practices; Embassy of Ireland, Rome; The Irish Museum of Modern Art; Limerick School of Art and Design/ L.I.T and the Sculptors’ Society of Ireland.                 

2004, the exhibition Letterfrack—Transformation of an institution represented Ireland at the 9th International Architecture Exhibition. The  commissioners were Shane O’Toole and Paul Kelly, exhibitors: O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects

2003, the artist Katie Holten represented Ireland at the 50th International Art Exhibition, commissioner was Valerie Connor.

2002, the exhibition Limerick County Hall represented Ireland at the 8th International Architecture Exhibition. Commissioner was Raymund Ryan and exhibitors, Bucholz, McEvoy Architects

2000, the exhibition N2 represented Ireland at the 7th International Architecture Exhibition. Commissioner was Raymund Ryan and exhibitor, Tom de Paor


Other Irish artists who have exhibited work at Venice include:

2016, Grafton Architects will exhibit at the invitation of the director Alejandro Aravena and with support from Culture Ireland

2014, Varvara Shavrova exhibited with support from Culture Ireland

2012, Clancy Moore Architects exhibited with support from Culture Ireland

2012 Grafton Architects exhibited with support from Culture Ireland

2012, O'Donnell + Tuomey exhibited with support from Culture Ireland

2011, Gerard Byrne exhibited at the invitation of the Director, Bice Curiger, and with support from Culture Ireland.

2010, Depaor Architects exhibited with support from Culture Ireland

2009, John Gerard exhibited at the Venice Biennale with support from Culture Ireland

2001  Siobhan Hapaska and Grace Weir

1999  Anne Tallentire

1997  Jaki Irvine and Alistair McLennan

1995  Kathy Prendergast

1993  Dorothy Cross and Willie Doherty

1960  Patrick Scott

1956  Louis le Brocquy and Hilary Heron

1950  Norah McGuinness and Nano Reid