7 March 2022 — Announcement
Press Release: Alberta Whittle to present deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory
The Scotland + Venice partners are delighted to confirm a major exhibition of new work by Alberta Whittle has been confirmed by La Biennale di Venezia as a Collateral Event at the 59th International Art Exhibition, taking place from 23rd April – 27th November 2022. A partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland, V&A Dundee and the Scottish Government, more details on the partnership can be found on the Scotland + Venice website.
In deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory which will feature tapestry, film and sculpture, the artist’s Barbadian heritage will create a background for conversation and exploring thought provoking themes from sustainability to decolonisation, police brutality, and collective healing.
Speaking on the official announcement the artist, who works from her Glasgow based studio, said:
“It’s all too easy to become apathetic and numb to all of the parallel histories being re-lived in our world today so I want my work to take that apathy and numbness and provide a space for people to feel. To be able to do that in such a historically rich environment as Venice allows me to explore conversations and historical stories through my commission.”
The themes presented in Whittle’s work will be brought to life through a myriad of creative expressions supported by production partners Dovecot Studios, Forma, and Glasgow Sculpture Studios. With additional production support from Glasgow Life, Art Night, and VIAD (Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre at University of Johannesburg).
Alongside the Scotland + Venice partnership, the project also sees an exciting partnership with eight Scottish universities, art schools and colleges across Scotland as well as cultural organisations including some new partners for 2022. With such a diverse range of partners the aim of this collaborative approach to the project is to widen access through targeting the barriers that people can face in pursuing or progressing a professional career in the visual arts. In partnership with LUX Scotland, from late 2022, Alberta’s film work will tour cinemas across Scotland. Forma will lead on a subsequent international tour of the film.
Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts at Creative Scotland and Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership said:
“We’re delighted to be presenting Alberta Whittle’s exhibition deep dive (pause) uncoiling memory at La Biennale di Venezia. Working in tapestry, film and sculpture Alberta will be creating an immersive environment that will invite us to slow down and consider the historic legacies and contemporary expressions of racism, colonialism and migration, so that we can begin to think outside of these damaging frameworks. Produced in collaboration with a network of artists, choreographers and performers, whom Alberta terms her accomplices, the installation reveals layers of meaning through the collaging of imagery, materials and form and continues the artist’s motivation to manifest self-compassion and collective care as key methods in battling anti-blackness.
The exhibition in Venice will be presented at the Docks Cantieri Cucchini (S. Pietro di Castello, 40, 30122). The fully accessible space located between the main sites of La Biennale, the Giardini and Arsenale, was first used as a Scotland + Venice exhibition venue in 2019, it’s a befitting location for Whittle’s work which draws on her spiritual connection to water and the built environment as storytellers. Whittle comments:
“It was the water that really drew me to Scotland and throughout my work there is this calling to water as a body of art in and of itself. It’s a powerful medium by which histories are shared and in the film this becomes very apparent.”
The exhibition opens to press on 20th April and to the public on 23rd April with supporting digital programming running on the Scotland + Venice website (www.scotlandandvenice.com). The exhibition will run through to 27th November, 2022.
The accreditation for pre-opening of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia closes on 4 April. For more information about how to apply, visit: https://www.labiennale.org/en/art/2022/accreditation. The pre-opening will take place on April 20th, 21st and 22nd 2022, prior to the public opening on Saturday 23rd April.
Note to editors
Scotland + Venice provides artists and architects based in Scotland with a valuable platform to showcase their work on the international stage at the Venice Biennale. A partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland, V&A Dundee and the Scottish Government, more details on the partnership can be found on the Scotland + Venice website. www.scotlandandvenice.com.
The commission, initiated by Glasgow International and delivered with the support of Glasgow Life through Tramway, is also supported by Forma (film), Dovecot Studios (tapestry), and Glasgow Sculpture Studios (gates).
Creative Scotland sits on and Chairs the Partnership Board. Funding for the project comes from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
British Council Scotland:
British Council Scotland sits on the Partnership Board. They host the Scotland + Venice Development Manager Role and are supporting the administration and financial management of the Professional Development Programme. They are providing additional funding support for the PDP Programme.
National Galleries of Scotland:
National Galleries Scotland sit on the Partnership Board. They are also planning to present a major exhibition of work by Alberta in March – September 2023 that will feature the return of the work from Venice.
Glasgow Life & Tramway:
Initiated by Glasgow International, the 2022 project is managed and delivered with the support of Glasgow Life through Tramway.
Film Co-Commissioner & Co-producer
Forma is a contemporary art commissioning agency and production company based in London. Forma worked with Alberta in 2020 to commission and produce her work RESET (2020) as part of her Frieze artist Film Award. Forma are co-commissioning and co-producing the new film work for Venice. They are match funding the film’s production costs as well as supporting through substantial staff time and costs throughout development, planning and production. Forma are also managing the production budget for the film. Forma’s relationship and support will continue throughout the Screening Programme and Touring of the work.
Tapestry Co-Commissioner & Co-producer
Dovecot Studios is a world-renowned tapestry studio in the heart of Edinburgh and a landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design. Dovecot Studios are co-commissioning and co-producing a tapestry as part of the presentation. They are currently contributing to the overall production costs as well as supporting through substantial staff time and costs throughout production. Dovecot are also managing the production budget for the tapestry.
Art Night is a free contemporary art festival which transforms locations across the UK and invites artists to make ambitious work for non-traditional public spaces. Art Night’s 2021 programme featured a newly commissioned film and performance by Alberta which has played an important role in the development and manifestation of the new work for Scotland + Venice. Art Night have supported the creative evolution and production of the new work through Alberta’s research and development, as well as by providing in-kind access to footage from the Artist’s Art Night commission to be used in the new film and a text by Ama Josephine Budge which will feature on the artists’s new website.
Glasgow Sculpture Studios are the largest art production facility in Scotland, with specialist workshops in metalwork, woodwork, plaster, resin, ceramics and digital fabrication. GSS commissioned Alberta in 2020-21 to work on her project Business as Usual:Hostile Environment. GSS have supported the creative evolution and production of the new work through Alberta’s research and development, as well as by providing in-kind access to footage and content from Business as Usual which will feature on the artist’s new website. GSS will support and advise on the fabrication and production of the sculptural work as part of the project and provide the artist with studio and production facility access in the months leading up to the presentation. GSS will also, as mutually agreed, develop a number of engagement opportunities that facilitate community connections and activity and link in to GSS’s existing engagement programme and its objectives, working with both its local and artistic community.
The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD) is an internationally respected research facility, dedicated to deepening research around the overarching thematic of identity construction through forms of visual practice, visual culture and visual representation, and specifically in relation to African and Afro-diasporic histories and experiences. Alberta Whittle is currently a Research Associate at VIAD. The organisation has been invited by the artist and Scotland + Venice to contribute to the artist’s website and digital publication utilising their critical and theoretical knowledge and the expertise and research of their academics and associates. Potential to involve VIAD in the screening programme and expanding Alberta’s work and research via their Reading the Moment online project.
Alberta Whittle Biography
Alberta Whittle has been based in Scotland since moving here to study firstly at Edinburgh College of Art and later on the Master of Fine Arts programme at The Glasgow School of Art. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh and Research Associate at The University of Johannesburg.
Whittle was awarded a Turner Bursary, the Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award in 2020. She was the Margaret Tait Award winner for 2018/19. Her work has been acquired by major public collections including the National Galleries of Scotland, Glasgow Museums Collections and the Contemporary Art Research Collection at Edinburgh College of Art, as well as by other private collections.
Selected solo exhibitions and presentations include: Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh (2021), Liverpool Biennale (2021), Art Night London (2021), The British Art Show 9 – Aberdeen (2021), Glasgow International (2021), Glasgow International (2020), Grand Union, Birmingham (2020), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (2019), Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2019), The Tyburn Gallery, London (2019) and FADA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (2018).
Further information: https://www.albertawhittle.com/
For more information or for media requests please contact Studio Tuku
Sophie Amono, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)739 444 6305.