19 1 3
Martin Boyce and Ungo Rondinone, installation view, We Burn, We Shiver, Sculpture Centre, New York, 2008

“We are honoured to curate Scotland’s representation at the 53rd Venice Biennale, which in its initial stages came out of discussions on how to mark Dundee Contemporary Arts tenth anniversary.

The decision to focus on the work of one artist was important to us both having discussed previous presentations. We wanted the artist we selected
to be representative of the most important issues in contemporary practice in Scotland and also have the international respect and authority to take on the challenging backdrop of Venice.

What usually seems to happen is that curators travel to Venice, secure a location and then consider the artists selection. Instead, we wanted to identify an artist and let the project evolve from the dialogue; considering context and location together also mirrors the way that we work with artists at DCA.

We have selected Martin Boyce principally as we feel he is an artist pushing his practice in extremely interesting ways: his work at Münster Sculpture Projects last year and the current show at the SculptureCenter, New York (with Ugo Rondinone) illustrates this well. Boyce is an international artist of the highest standard and we feel his work will more than hold its own on the world’s biggest stage.

Martin Boyce, 'Fear Meets the Soul', 2008, steel, powder coated steel, acrylic paint, altered plywood leg splint
Martin Boyce, 'Fear Meets the Soul', 2008, steel, powder coated steel, acrylic paint, altered plywood leg splint

DCA has established itself as one of Europe’s key venues for the showing of challenging and meaningful exhibitions and as a new curatorial team, we want to continue to highlight the most significant contemporary practices, to an international audience, whilst also remaining sensitive to our distinct socio-geographic location. We feel the returning show in December 2009 will be a fitting celebration to culminate the tenth anniversary and will give Boyce’s work an equally charged context as it is now a number of years since his unforgettable show at Tramway, Glasgow.

At this moment it is hard to predict what to expect from the show, but during our first visit to Venice we were particularly struck by the interesting tensions between modernism and classicism in the city.

We have spent a good deal of time considering a range of potential sites and have also tracked down the work of modernist architect Carlo Scarpa. who has become something of a touchstone for the project. It was significant to discover that Scarpa was a great influence on the Scottish architect Richard Murphy, who designed DCA. With this research and additional knowledge on board, we are looking forward to securing and working within a specific building and are delighted to have Katie Nicoll on board as producer.”

Judith Winter, head of arts programme and Graham Domke, exhibitions curator, DCA 53rd Venice Biennale, 7 June–22 November, 2009