Six artists featured in the Venice Biennale 2019 that previously exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary.

The Venice Biennale is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and prestigious large-scale international art exhibitions with a rich, over 120 years tradition. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, the 58th International Art Exhibition opened to the public last Saturday. Titled "May You Live In Interesting Times", it will address current political situation and issues that we face worldwide such as fake news, ‘alternative facts’.

We were pleased to discover some familiar names on the Venice Biennale list. Read more about six artists that had previously exhibited at Nottingham Contemporary.

1. Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Abu Hamden, Earshot, 2016. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London. Installation shot, From Ear to Ear to Eye, Nottingham Contemporary, Dec 2017- Mar 2018. Photo Stuart Whipps.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a contemporary artist based in Beirut, whose work concerns sound and its intersection with politics. His work Earshot (2016) was a part of "From Ear to Ear to Eye" (2017) exhibition here at Nottingham Contemporary back in 2017. This powerful installation tells the story of a tribunal; investigating the shooting of two teenagers by Israeli soldiers in West Bank.

Abu Hamdan's spectrograms (sound visualisations) of the shots fired, proved that soldiers fired live ammunition and not rubber bullets as they claimed and forced Israel to renounce its original denial.

For the Venice Biennale, Lawrence Abu Hamdan will be presenting his new work Walled Unwalled (2018).

2. Lara Favaretto

Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head, 2017. Installation view at Nottingham Contemporary. Generously supported by The Ampersand Foundation. Photo Elaborata

"Absolutely Nothing" (2017) has been Favaretto’s largest UK exhibition so far. It brought together the most significant pieces from 20 years of her career. As part of the exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary commissioned Thinking Head (2017) - a new major public commission, which took the form of a cloud of steam billowing above our building for six months. Inspired by Alighiero Boetti’s final sculpture, called My Brain is Smoking (1993), Favaretto’s intention was to turn the building into a “thinking machine.”

Thinking Head will be presented this year at the 58th Venice Biennale, where it will be installed on top of the Central Pavilion.

3. Ad Minoliti

Ad Minoliti, Triangles Watching Playlist, 2018, exhibition view of Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 1, Nottingham Contemporary, 2018. Photo Stuart Whipps

Ad Minoliti featured in our 2018 exhibition, "Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 1" (2018). Set in a global context of women-led uprisings and demonstrations, this exhibition featured over 100 works by some 40 artists and presents the way in which resistance has been approached by artists.

Newly commissioned for Still I Rise, Minoliti’s work, Triangles Watching Playlist (2018), combines video, cushions, mural painting and the print on canvas titled Cyborg Mom (2018). It features a YouTube playlist of conferences and talks put together by Minoliti. If you wish to watch the playlist, it is still available on YouTube.

You can see Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance, Act 1 2018 in VR on our website.

4. Otobong Nkanga

Otobong Nkanga, The Encounter That Took a Part of Me, 2016. Exhibition view, Nottingham Contemporary. Courtesy the artist. Photo Stuart Whipps.

"The Encounter That Took a Part of Me" (2016) was Otobong Nkanga’s first solo show in the UK and consisted of two site-specific installations. One, titled the same as the exhibition and commissioned by Nottingham Contemporary, was a constellation of museum display cases, a vast wall drawing and a large two-part tapestry. The second work, Taste of a Stone. Iko (2016), brought the natural world into the gallery, creating a place for contemplation and for local artists to perform in.

5. Danh Võ

Dahn Võ, installation view, Nottingham Contemporary, 2014. Photography by Andy Keate.

Danh Võ was born on the evacuee island of Phu Quoc in 1975 during the Vietnam-Cambodian war. In 1979 his father built a boat and together with others they fled Vietnam, hoping to reach America. Picked up by a Danish cargo ship, they were taken to Denmark where they were granted political asylum.

Danh Võ’s 2014 exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary saw both, his new and historical work. Massive Black Hole in the Dark Heart of our Milky Way (2012), incorporated Johnny Walker whisky bottles, gold-leafed Coca Cola boxes and American flags. Christmas (Rome) (2012) was also a part of his 55th Venice Biennale installation.

6. Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars, Transliterative Tease, 2013–present, lecture-performance

Slavs and Tatars is an internationally renowned art collective based in Berlin. Although they have not exhibited in our galleries, we hosted their event back in 2018.

Transliterative Tease was a lecture-performance organized in collaboration with Backlit Gallery, which exhibited Slavs and Tatars as a part of Mountain of Tongues exhibition. The lecture focused on Turkic languages of the former Soviet Union as well as the eastern and western frontiers of the Turkic sphere, namely Anatolia and Xinjiang/Uighuristan.

If you are interested in Transliterative Tease, you can watch on our website.