For the first time Cardiff School of Art and Design’s students will be helping invigilate at Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice at the Venice Biennale. This year the Arts Council of Wales has commissioned artist James Richards to represent Wales in an exhibition curated by Chapter Arts Centre.
Cardiff School of Art and Design is delighted to be supporting its students to have the unique experience of invigilating Wales’ exhibition at the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice and to develop their own artistic, writing and curatorial practice during their stay.
The seven selected students will each spend a month at the Biennale – the largest and most prestigious visual arts exhibition in the world. We are especially pleased to be partnering with Cymru yn Fenis Wales in Venice this year because James Richards is a CSAD alumni having studied for Foundation here as well as having been born and brought up at the city, interned with local gallery g39 which supports so many of our students and graduates and having collaborated regularly with Kim Fielding and Tactile Bosch.
Established in 1895, the Art Biennale has an attendance today of over 475,000 visitors, attracting over 30,000 key international curators, critics, collectors and artists and political and cultural representatives to the three-day preview period alone.
Wales’s presence at Venice has been a vital part of the artistic calendar since 2003 and so we are excited to see how being a part of the Biennale impacts upon our students’ work and ideas. You’ll be able to follow their journeys through our news page here.
Click the student names below to read more about their practice and what they hope to get out of their time in Venice.
Adam Farrugia White
Tell me a little about yourself. I have been studying on the Fine Art programme at CSAD since 2014, and moved to the city two years ago from Barry, where I was born. Studying in Cardiff has given me the opportunity to be part of a cooperative cultural community, through which it has been possible to involve myself in creative projects with such charities such as Pride Cymru. Once I have graduated, I expect to move on to San Francisco to study on the Contemporary Curatorial Practice MA programme at the California College of the Arts.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. I continue to work autobiographically, my work – realised in image, artefact, text, or installation – is a means of documenting and understanding relationships, and evoking the presence of absence. The artefact provides a record of a moment in which something took place and emotions concerning it were left there, and the incorporation of language – whether in the title or in the work itself – provides insight into the first-person and alludes to the multiple connotative potentials of the artefacts.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I’m most looking forward to bring exposed to the international curatorial sensibilities and innovative forms of exhibition the Venice Biennale showcases. Venice has a rich artistic history, and importantly, the Venice Biennale is a means through which to think through, present, and learn about contemporary culture.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. Inspiration and material for my artistic practice will come from documenting the effect of situations I live-out in Venice, and what will feel acutely absent or present to me in those moments being far from home. But I will also so spend time developing curatorial discourse, and use the opportunity for research-based learning.
Tell me a little about yourself. I live in Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan, with my husband and youngest daughter. I had always hoped to do an art degree when I left school but I needed to work, so sadly it didn’t happen. I had good career in communications, which I loved, but, when my daughter started her illustration degree, I was green with envy and realised how much I regretted missing out. So, as soon as I could afford it, I gave up my job and signed up for an Art Foundation. Now I’m now on the second year of a Fine Art Degree at Cardiff Met and enjoying every moment.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. I am interested in the human psyche – in the way that fleeting, forgotten memories pervade our consciousness. I like to reimagine the familiar and to question hidden context and the significance of life’s dualities. I work primarily with digital painting, photography, installation and film. Sometimes I want my art to amuse, other times to disturb, but ultimately I hope to challenge people to see things in a different way
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I’m looking forward to escaping all my day-to-day responsibilities and spending a month absorbed in the art world’s equivalent of the Olympics! I plan to soak up the whole experience to enrich my own practice, and to take the opportunity tell everybody about the incredible art scene that we have in Wales.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. I’ll be looking for visual similarities between elements of artworks at the Biennale and everyday Venice life, whether it’s a subject, shape or colour, and to photograph them and present the works side by side. I also plan to make a short film of my Biennale experience.
Tell me a little about yourself. I was born in London and have lived in Cardiff for three years, when I was little I wanted to be a tiger when I grew up. That hasn’t happened, but I’m pretty happy with how things have turned out.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. My current work is an ongoing exploration of fragmented environments and the relationship of the architectural and geometric to the natural and biometric. This is a reflection of the idea that environment is, whether artificially altered or not, interactively constructed in an endless variety of ways by both physical differences and the breadth of human perception. I am interested in the viability of immersion in the immediate environment and whether that situation/sensation can be recreated in a gallery context.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I’m looking forward to seeing how different countries have responded to the call out, most significantly whether they have chosen to address political or social issues in their selection or have chosen to make another kind of statement by choosing not to do that.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in
Venice. Because of my interest in fragmentation, space and place I am excited about how the content and context of my work is going to shift in Venice. There is the opportunity to be around creative people from all over the world and I feel that this will allow me to explore different cultural visual languages within my practice. All of the pavilions will be attempting to create a sense of place stemming from their respective countries, this re-establishing of environment within a commercial/gallery space is something I find extremely thought provoking and, I feel may be a way of dispelling fears and misconceptions about immigration and cultural bias.
Ella Louise Jones
Tell me a little about yourself. I am a Fine Art student at Cardiff School of Art and Design and am currently in my final year. I’m originally from North Wales, where I live in a small village called Llanbedrog. My first language is Welsh, and I have a keen interest in contemporary art. This influences my sculpture and printmaking practice daily.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. Researching the manipulation of material and form, my practice investigates themes such as abstracting nature, found and collected objects. I explore the curiosity of touch creating sculptures that entice playfulness and interaction. This is projected within the use of textures, material, colour and display. Being a multidisciplinary artist working with printmaking and sculpture allows me to investigate the forms I create in 2D and 3D dimensions both influencing my practice and together shaping the structures and forms in my work.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I’m excited to invigilate for the Welsh pavilion in particular to see James Richard’s piece. I’m also interested to see Phyllida Barlow’s sculptural work in the British Pavilion, her colossal sculptures are thought provoking and consuming and I can’t wait to see her work in person. I’m interested in seeing the work of the artist Mark Bradford who is representing America in the Biennale. I admire his abstracted work using collage and painting and the relation his work has to daily life. For example, his piece White Painting (2009) contains posters and papers from billboards. His expressive sanding, ripping, layering and textures in his work intrigue me. I am also looking forward to see a wide variety of artwork in the Biennale and in Venice. I’m eager to explore the city and discover different cultures and see the beautiful sites the city offers.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. I have a keen interest in documenting, therefore whilst I’m there I intend to record my time there by filming, taking photographs and collecting objects and receipts from my travel to perhaps print onto or work from. I intend to work from the pieces and artwork I see in the Biennale, working from the structures and forms that inspire me. It will be interesting to see the architecture of the city, where I could work from the textures and surfaces of the buildings. Tactility and touch is a big part of my practice presently, which I intend to keep investigating and exploring in my work.
Tell me a little about yourself. I’m Gweni, I’m 21 and I come from a small village called Y Fron in North Wales. I moved to Cardiff in 2014 to peruse a degree in Fine Art at CSAD and adore living in such a vibrant, welcoming city!
Fy enw i yw Gweni, rwy’n 21 a dwi’n dod o bentre’ bach a’r enw Y Fron yn Ogledd Cymru. Symudais i Gaerdydd yn 2014 er mwyn astudio gradd Celf Gain yn YGDC – dwi wrth fy modd cael byw mewn dinas mor gyffroes a groesawus!
Tell me a little bit about your practice. I mainly work with video, sculpture and installation. For the degree show, I am exploring how aspects of 20th and 21st century culture could compose future museum displays. My sculptural work responds to formal museum display methods, offering heavily textured alternatives to glass cabinets. These textures stem from a fascination with everyday materials that surrounded me whilst growing up in North Wales, as well as investigations around material as zeitgeist. Exploring online databases in addition to creating my own footage allows me to collage absurd, mundane and sensory video clips together, creating archival videos in response to the materiality of my sculptural work.
Rwy’n gweithio gyda fideo, cerfluniaeth a gosodiadau yn bennaf. At y sioe gradd, rwy’n ymchwilio sut fysa agweddau o ddiwylliant yr 20fed a 21ain ganrif yn gallu cyfansoddi arddangosfeydd amgueddfa’r dyfodol. Wrth gynnig gweadau trwm yn lle cypyrddau gwydr mae fy ngherflunwaith yn ymateb i ffurfiau arddangos ffurfiol yr amgueddfa. Mae’r gweadau yma yn deillio o fy niddordeb mewn deunyddiau bob dydd, ers iddynt fy amgylchynu wrth dyfu fyny yng Ngoledd Cymru. Maent hefyd yn deillio o fy syniadau o gwmpas deunydd fel zeitgeist. Mae archwilio cronfeydd data ar-lein, yn ogystal â chreu gwaith fideo fy hun, yn galluogi i mi glud-lunio clipiau fideo gwyllt, dwl a synhwyraidd at ei gilydd. Canlyniad hyn yw gwaith fideo archifol sydd yn ymateb i ddeunyddiau fy ngwaith cerfluniaeth.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I am really excited about spending time around some of the most ground breaking international, contemporary artworks at the Biennale. James Richards’ work has been influential in my own practice, and spending time with his work will be highly valuable. I am also looking forward to being in a city as visually and culturally rich as Venice, and having time to soak up my surroundings, as well as do some sight-seeing and museum visiting. The prospect of meeting other individuals who are also passionate about contemporary art, and sharing perspectives and ideas with them, is also exciting – as is Italian food!
Dwi’n gyffroes iawn i dreulio amser o gwmpas ychydig o’r gwaith fwyaf arloesol o fewn y byd celf gyfoes yn y Biennale. Mae gwaith James Richards wedi dylanwadu fy ngwaith i, a fydd treulio amser gyda’i waith yn hynod werthfawr. Rydw i hefyd yn edrych ymlaen at fod mewn dinas mor gyfoethog yn weledol a diwylliannol â Fenis, a chael amser i amsugno fy amgylchedd, yn ychwanegol i sbïo ar olygfeydd ac ymweld ag amgueddfeydd. Mae cwrdd ag unigolion eraill sydd efo diddordeb mewn celf gyfoes, a rhannu syniadau gyda nhw, hefyd yn gyffroes – yn ychwanegol i fwyd Eidaleg!
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. I am not yet sure what kind of work I will develop while in Venice, but I am excited to see what happens! I’m really interested in collaborating with the people I encounter over the month in some way, as well as responding to the materiality found around Venice, and possibly the works I see during the Biennale. It will be interesting to see how this develops and thankfully I have some time to experiment with ideas before my stay in November.
Rwy’n ansicr ar hyn o bryd pa fath o waith fyddai’n datblygu yn Fenis ond dwi’n gyffroes i weld beth fydd yn digwydd! Mae cennai diddordeb mewn cydweithio a’r bobl fyddai’n cyfarfod dros y mis, yn ychwanegol i ymateb i ddeunyddiau o gwmpas Fenis, ac efallai ‘chydig o’r gwaith fyddai’n dod ar draws yn y Biennale. Mi fydd e’n ddiddorol i weld sut fydd hyn yn datblygu, ac yn lwcus mae cennai ddigon o amser i arbrofi cyn mis Tachwedd.
Tell me a little about yourself. I sing and dance my way through life.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. My multidisciplinary practice investigates the impacts technology has on society. Through exploration of video and performance I aim to cause the audience to question and reflect on a range of issues prevalent in our society. Installation allows me to experiment with immersing the viewer within a bubble, which reflects on my ideas regarding the echo chamber caused by modern technology, especially social media.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I am really interested in experiencing the different cultural environment of Venice. The opportunity to meet so many new people from such a vast array of backgrounds with the chance to discuss and share ideas and views on art and wider topics is something I find very exciting. Although I can’t wait to explore Venice itself in more depth I want to explore some of the lesser known landscapes in the surrounding area.
Being able to spend a month in Venice finally gives me the opportunity to learn Italian – something I have always wanted to do.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. During my time in Venice I want to record footage of reporter “William Sham” interviewing a range of people regarding local and national social issues. Through a natural progression of questions, I aim to get the interviewer to question their ideal utopian society. Through these interviews, I am interested in comparing the utopian ideals people share.
Tell me a little about yourself. I’m from North Wales, I like animals, I collect tattoos, tad obsessed with Harry Potter …. What am I supposed to do here I’m not that interesting?
Tell me a little bit about your practice. My practice has been sculpture based for nearly four years, using natural forms like coral as inspiration as opposed to narratives. I found this is the most productive way for me to work and it creates the most enjoyable and exciting work with regards to methods and experimentation. Since starting University I have begun to experiment with colour in a 2D area of my work, using print to respond the texture I’m looking at or the 3D imitations I have created. Most recently I have started using ceramics, it started as experimentation but has become the main material at present.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? I’m looking forward to seeing an extremely immersive arts event. Seeing how a city behaves with such an expanse of art venues and a huge audience.
I am also excited to see what I find interesting once I arrive and realising what holds my interest for the duration of the stay. This may become involved in the response I create from the visit though I haven’t been to Venice before so gauging this at the moment is difficult.
Tell me a little about your ideas for your personal project that you’ll develop while in Venice. My initial ideas have been considering print as the main means of my personal project; it is my chosen method for exploring colour. Recently in my sculpture work I’ve been encouraged to really consider colour. It’s something I want to try, though not in my current piece of work so maybe Venice will trigger me to create some colourful 3D work. Though I think I will have to see which better suits the experience.
Tell me a little about yourself. Currently I’m in the first year of my Fine Art Degree, having recently moved to Cardiff from Eastbourne. I also play the violin, something which strongly informs my practice.
Tell me a little bit about your practice. I work mainly with the medium of sound, particularly in the way it can physically affect us. This is something that grew from playing the violin for 14 years, and I often use my own performances as the starting point for my pieces. Art writing is another area I’m interested in, both as the artwork itself and as a piece to inform it.
What are you looking forward to most about spending a month in Venice? The Venice Biennale is such a huge creative platform, it will be amazing to experience first-hand leading contemporary work when I visit!
Heledd is CSAD’s reserve invigilator.