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Project Details

For the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Lost Sheep Productions and Common Ground propose THE DORSET PAVILION, a collection of art that is made locally but speaks transglobally. While the Biennale is known for National Pavilions, this is a Local Pavilion that celebrates the parish-sized thinking that is both resurgent and under threat.

Dorset is a county in the south-west of England. It is rural, mostly, an undulating green plot at the margins of the sea. THE DORSET PAVILION represents a locus by which to champion the local, the small and the communal and a myriad of political situations. By existing, this pavilion demonstrates that the art world doesn’t always have to gravitate towards the National and the Urban, towards London.

Venice was built on enshrining the finest things in the world. Magnificent and Unique, it is a flat golden-red mirage, built with stone and marble rising out of the intense blue lido. In contrast, our DORSET PAVILION reflects the verdant green folds of the countryside that holds so much complex history and (just like Venice) is battling with erosion (of geology, of tradition, of habitat) and the rising tides (of seas, of inequality).

THE DORSET PAVILION exhibits practices unique to the place: Lower Hewood Farm, Tolpuddle Martyrs Union Banners, fossil displays, sheep skin works, films such Comrades by Bill Douglas and Common Ground’s Arcadia (dir. Paul Wright, BFI/BBC) alongside weavers, ceramicists, painters, craft-based artists, and more established Art World figures such as the painter Ellen Harvey.

The problem of the artists role in gentrification are largely avoided in this instance as Dorset is far from the capital with few motorways and trains. The selected practitioners make deep roots in Dorset and their works often excavates the psychogeography of the land and deep history. Borders are less arbitrary here - Sophie Molin’s work references a time when Dorset, under the Roman Empire, had no borders with Europe. And we also include works that emerge from the harrowing and frightening journeys at sea made by refugees. Bibi Stockholm – a floating detention and processing barge being used to detain refugees – recently arrived in Portland, Dorset and a traditional union banner, such as from the Tolpuddle Martyrs museum will depict the Bibi Stockholm and the convict transport ships on the sea.

Project Notes

THE DORSET PAVILION will be exhibiting during Dorset Art Weeks in May and June before showing at the Venice Biennale September and October 2024.

Please see the DORSET ART WEEKS and VENICE BIENNALE pages for venue details.

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dorset pavilion
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