Minister Josepha Madigan congratulates the Curators of and Irish participants in the International Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., extends her congratulations to the curators, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects on the opening of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice in 2018 (the ‘Biennale’). These two Irish architects are honoured with the task of curating the central exhibition at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2018 and have developed the theme “Freespace” which will inform all national exhibitions.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are supporting the Architecture Biennale as it offers a unique opportunity for Ireland to showcase Irish talent to the world and enable Irish architects achieve international exposure and generate opportunities to present their work Internationally. With visitor numbers expected to be over one quarter of a million in 2018, it is clear that the reach and legacy of the exhibition will be wide and multifaceted. Ireland is represented at the Venice Biennale each year through the initiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.

Minister Madigan said: “My Department is delighted to be supporting the Curators and the largest ever presentation of Irish architectural talent on the most important global platform for the exhibition of architecture in 2018.   I would like to congratulate Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, a highly regarded partnership, who are the first ever Irish architects to be selected as curators of La Biennale Architettura.  It is a great honour for them and for Ireland and I wish them every success with the exhibition which continues until November 25th.”

Grafton Architects have selected an extensive list of Irish participants to be included in the exhibition and this reflects the significant international success of Irish architects, many of whom are at an early stage of their careers. Among the established architects selected to present their work are O’Donnell Twomey, de Blacam Meagher, Niall McLaughlin as well as 16 emerging practices which will have their work presented through an exhibition entitled “Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects”.

This extent of Irish architectural talent making waves internationally is unprecedented. The theme ‘Freespace’, selected by the curators has a focus on the quality of space itself and has a generosity of spirit and sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda.

Today (24th May) will see the opening of Ireland’s national exhibition at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.  Entitled “Free Market”, it will highlight the generosity, humanity and possibility in the common spaces of Ireland’s market towns whose marketplaces have undergone fundamental change in recent times. The project proposes to reclaim these places of interaction and community and to re-imagine the shared urban territory of the small town marketplace.

The team of co-curators behind the selection for Ireland’s national presentation is made up of  a team of architects: Laurence Lord (AP+E), Orla Murphy (Custom), Jeffrey Bolhuis (AP+E), Jo Anne Butler (Culturstruction), Tara Kennedy (Culturstruction) and Miriam Delaney (DIT).

In congratulating the “Free Market” team Minister Madigan said “I am delighted to have such a dedicated, talented and enthusiastic team of architects representing Ireland in our National Pavilion this year.  The theme of “Free Market” resonates not only with the small towns of rural Ireland, but also with many small towns worldwide.  I wish the team every success for their exhibition and very much look forward to its return to Ireland in 2019 following its stay in Venice”.



Note to Editor

The Venice Architecture Biennale, will be held from 26 May to 25 November 2018 and involves the public, members of civil society, individuals and institutions.

The Department of Culture Heritage and Gaeltacht has provided funding of €800k towards the curated exhibition.

Ireland’s exhibition at Venice is an initiative of Culture Ireland, in partnership with the Arts Council. Since 2005, Culture Ireland and the Arts Council have partnered on supporting Ireland’s representation at Venice given the ongoing platform it offers artists to reach an international audience.

Ireland’s exhibition in 2018, ‘Free Market’, will tour towns in Ireland in 2019 following its presentation in Venice.

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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