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May 10th - November 26th 2017


The Pavilion of Humanity: Objection // Michal Cole & Ekin Onat.

Curated by Gillian Fox, supported by University of the Arts, London.


Location: Chiesa di San Gallo, San Marco 30124 Venice. (Googlemaps link here)

Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00, every day.

Two internationally acclaimed female artists Michal Cole and Ekin Onat have been confirmed to take over The Pavilion of Humanity in Venice with a collaborative exhibition for the duration of the 57th Biennale opening in May 2017. Objection is a celebration of women in the arts, a timely reminder for the importance of shared values and solidarity, and a unique artistic voice emphasising the need for global awareness of political and domestic issues alike.


The Pavilion of Humanity is a pop-up space in artistic response to the growing political unrest, conceit and eroding of borders both physical and mental in contemporary society. Politicised gender and national identity are concerns at the centre of both Ekin Onat and Michal Cole’s art. Setting up in the meticulously restored and preserved villa at the base of the Academia Bridge, Cole and Onat’s collaboration will distort the domestic into a place of protest. In this traditional Venetian house, viewers will encounter installations in the kitchen, living room, dining room and bedrooms, each altering the meaning of these overly familiar surroundings and their relationship to inhabitants within, questioning the idea of ‘home’ as a politically neutral space. While works on the ground floor of the exhibition will address the private-yet-public dichotomy of their familial environment, the upstairs will be more discreet, with the works adopting the function of this floor as a restorative place of rest and contemplation.


For her soft sculptural installation Michal Cole uses thousands of discarded men’s ties, a symbol of male power dress and formality, appropriated into the walls and ceilings, thus creating a cavernous intimacy and duplicity. These questions of gender continue in her sculptural video installations. The idea of sound, voice and when a woman can be heard are central concerns of her video works that hide within the mundane kitchen cups, bowls and teapots, silently screaming.


A Turkish woman, Ekin Onat is a vocal opponent of the current political regime and inherent ideological propaganda that dominates her homeland. Questions of civil society and freedom of speech are at the centre of her performance and subsequent installation works within the dining room. Onat will undertake a corporeal performance during the opening week of the Biennale.

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