Scotland Pauses Participation in Venice Biennale, Citing Financial Situation

Due to funding concerns, Scotland will not have a pavilion at the 2024 edition of the Venice Biennale, the world’s oldest and most prestigious exhibition of contemporary art.

Scotland + Venice, the arts organization that oversees the Scottish presentation at the event, stressed in a statement that this was not a withdrawal from La Biennale, but rather a “pause” to “allow for a period of reflection and review.”

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“We anticipate the review process to be underway in Summer 2023 and opportunities to participate will be widely advertised,” the statement continued. “At the same time we’ll be working with partners to create funded opportunities for artists, curators and producers to engage with La Biennale in 2024.”

The country has participated in the Biennale since 2003 as a collateral event, meaning that the presentation is technically not a Biennale-sanctioned national pavilion but one held in tandem with the show.

Scotland + Venice is a partnership between the Scottish government and various British arts organizations, including the British Council and the National Galleries of Scotland.

A spokesperson for the partnership said in a statement that the “present financial and planning environment” required a rethinking of the current model of delivery. “The decision also acknowledges the impact that the project has on the environment and the need to consider how it can be delivered more ethically and sustainably into the future,” the spokesperson added.

Scotland was last represented by Glasgow-based artist Alberta Whittle, who is the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. That show will feature two pieces Whittle present in the 2022 Venice Biennale. Past artists that exhibited on behalf of Scotland include and Turner Prize winners Charlotte Prodger and Martin Boyce.

The Scotland + Venice Architecture project, “A Fragile Correspondence,” is still set to open in May and run through November.


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