Scotland + Venice 2015 Exhibition Guide
ISBN 978 0 993227516
9 May — 22 November 2015Palazzo Fontana
Graham Fagen represented Scotland at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, running from 9 May to 22 November 2015, in a solo presentation commissioned and curated by Hospitalfield, Arbroath.In 2016, Fagen reinterpreted the body of work originally conceived for the four noble rooms of Palazzo Fontana. In Arbroath the exhibition of sculpture, drawing and moving image was installed, with some changes and additions, in to the lovely and various historic Arts & Crafts rooms of Hospitalfield House. The exhibition ran from 19 March until 17 April 2016 with a series of events focused around the start and end of the show.Graham FagenGraham Fagen is one of the UK’s foremost contemporary artists. His work mixes media and crosses continents; combining video, performance, photography, and sculpture with text and music. His recurring artistic themes include plants, journeys, poetry and popular song as a means to focus on personal and shared experience and identity. His works offer a clear-sighted perspective on the powerful forces that shape our lives.The ExhibitionEntra nel Giardino, E dimentica la GuerraCome into the Garden, and forget about the WarThis invitation, a neon sign, marks the threshold of Graham Fagen’s exhibition.A newly commissioned body of work, sculpture, drawing, musical composition and moving image; this is a work in four parts that establishes the landscape for a very particular ‘garden’.The emphatic titles of the installation; Rope Tree, Scheme for Lament, Scheme for Our Nature, The Slave’s Lament are all newly devised, yet they carry echoes of motifs, ideas and language from previous works. For example, Fagen repeatedly uses the word ‘scheme’ in titles to emphasise the development of a process or plan, as in ‘schematic’, yet there is an inference here of the more underhand or the ‘scheming’…The re-use of a specific vocabulary of text and objects, both within the making and titling of the work, reveals the concerns that underpin Fagen’s work as he continually scrutinises the ways in which we are hybridised and formed through culture and experience. Growing up in the west of Scotland, as he did, there is no escaping the poetry of Burns. Less immediately predictable perhaps, but a reflection on how we are energised by, and find common ground through, the globally eclectic nature of popular culture, is the artist’s passion for reggae music. These two bodies of history and culture, Burns and Jamaican reggae music, are made to connect at the Palazzo Fontana.Excerpt from Lucy Byatt’s introduction text within the Exhibition Guide, Graham Fagen: Scotland + Venice.