Sydney, Australia / The official Australian representation at the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia features Hany Armanious, the Sydney-based artist whose sculptural work often engages ancient and contemporary cultural phenomena.

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Hany Armanious: Mystery of the Plinth, 2010 / pigmented polyurethane resin, epoxy, polystyrene, silicone / dimensions variable / image by Greg Weight

The Australian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia

Australian Pavilion in the Giardini di Castello
la Biennale di Venezia dates:4 June – 27 November 2011
la Biennale di Venezia Vernissage dates: 1 June – 3 June 2011

Entitled Hany Armanious The Golden Thread, the exhibition is curated by Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Doug Hall AM is the Australian Commissioner. The exhibition is presented in the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini di Castello.

“Armarnious’ work is insightful, poignant, and often humorous”, says Commissioner Doug Hall, “and I am confident that international audiences will respond to it with keen interest.”

Rooted in the process of casting and idiosyncratic in nature, the work stages a double take on objects ranging from ancient history to the everyday. Armanious meticulously casts found items – usually cast off or discarded things that display the wear and tear of their past lives – in deliberately non-precious materials, most commonly polyurethane resin. He then turns on its head the traditional intention of casting – for example, the multiple reproduction of an object – and instead uses the process to create unique objects. Both the original object and the mould are often destroyed, and the carefully and painstakingly cast objects become artifacts The Australian Pavilion will feature a series of eleven works, mainly new, and some older pieces.

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Hany Armanious: Happiness, 2010 / pigmented polyurethane resin, pewter / 70 x 109.5 x 73.7 cm / image by Mark-Woods.com courtesy of Foxy Production, New York

“Armanious’ invocation of ancient forms and cultures, his embrace of a nearly alchemical transformation of one material into another, and his interest in incorporating the processes of making and displaying works of art into the sculptures themselves, underscore his desire to locate the mysterious within the mundane” says curator Anne Ellegood. “By arguing that objects in our everyday life – leaf-blowers, vases, teapots, baskets, irons, window blinds, or even a cardboard Burger King crown – can carry as much visual pleasure, as much potential for beauty, as those things designed or deemed to be in the domain of aesthetics, his work is an acknowledgement that there is more to this world than meets the eye.”

Hany Armanious The Golden Thread will be open to the public from 4 June to 27 June 2011.

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Hany Armanious: Sneeze Painting, 2010 / perspex, pigmented polyurethane resin, air / 60 x 63 x 6 cm / image by Mark-Woods.com courtesy of Foxy Production, New York

About the Artist

Sydney-based artist Hany Armanious was born in 1962 in Ismalia, Egypt. He received his Bachelor of Visual Arts at the City Art Institute in Sydney in 1984. He has presented solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri (2008); the City Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand (2008); the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane (2006); and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2001), among others. His work was also presented in solo exhibitions at galleries around the world, including Foxy Production in New York (2010, 2007); Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney (2009, 2006, 2004, 2003); and Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland (2008, 2006, 2004, 2003).

His work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Tonite at The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2009); Double Hemisphere at Foxy Production, New York (2009); Ceramica at Institute of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2008); Jesuvian Process at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2008); Strange Cargo: Contemporary Art as a State of Encounter, Newcastle Region Art Gallery (2007, with tour); Stolen Ritual at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2006); Uncanny Nature, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2006); Travelling Light at Spacement, Melbourne (2005); Bloom mutation, toxicity and the sublime at Govett Brewster Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand (2003), and many others.

His work was included in the Busan Biennale, Korea (2006), the Johannesburg Biennale (1995), the Venice Biennale (1993), and the 9th Sydney Biennale (1992) and is in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Museum of Contemporary in Sydney, Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand, the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, California, and the private collection of Dakis Joannou in Athens, Greece.

In 2005, Armanious was shortlisted for the National Sculpture Prize at the National Gallery of Australia, and he has been awarded several residencies, such as the Australian Council residency in New York City and the Australia Council’s Los Angeles studio. Hany won the prestigious Moet and Chandon Fellowship in 1998. Australia at the Venice Biennale – La Biennale di Venezia Australia’s long history of representation at the Venice Biennale, began in 1954 with the exhibition of Sidney Nolan’s iconic works, followed by visual arts luminaries such as Arthur Boyd, Rosalie Gascoigne and Albert Tucker.

As the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body, the Australia Council for the Arts has managed and funded Australia’s participation in the Venice Biennale since 1978. The council owns the Australian Pavilion, designed by renowned Australian architect, Philip Cox.

Official website: http://venicebiennale.australiacouncil.gov.au/


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