Pavilion of Canada at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia - Shary Boyle: Music for Silence

VENICE, Italy, May 29, 2013 /CNW/ - The National Gallery of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts today announced the opening of Shary Boyle: Music for Silence, an exhibition of new work by Shary Boyle for the Pavilion of Canada at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia. Shary Boyle's installation at the Pavilion of Canada is presented by RBC Wealth Management and supported by major sponsor Aimia.

Exploring ideas of silence, isolation and solitude, Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle has created an immersive installation for her national presentation in the Giardini di Castello. This ambitious site specific work engages with Venice's long heritage of theatricality and mythology; transforming the Pavilion of Canada both inside and out.

Music for Silence is a total re-imagining of Canada's national space, merging imagination and folklore with humanistic, feminist and social concerns. Visitors to the Pavilion of Canada will step into Boyle's visionary narrative, engaging the intimate and universal through the sensual and emotive directness of her work.

On approaching Music for Silence visitors encounter a bronze sentry, a startled child perched atop the pavilion's roof, weaving a maypole down the length of a concrete column. Inside the space, small porcelain figures carry large burdensome planets, evoking resilience, euphoria and grief. A silent black and white film plays, featuring a deaf woman performing in sign language, without subtitles. The character translates a dedication text written by the artist describing her intentions for the exhibit. A life-sized underwater cave set becomes a refuge: the resting place for an ancient sea deity sheltering a human infant. Overhead projectors flood the cave and plaster figures with saturated photo-collage in overwhelming detail, introducing a psychic strata populated by the mysterious, the forgotten and the silenced.

Music for Silence showcases the exceptional level of hand-made craft signature to Boyle's practice, in which she works in a range of media including sculpture, drawing, painting and performance. For her Venice presentation, Boyle has created a time-based, visual composition. She states: "In conceiving of this installation, I thought a lot about the emotional entitlement we afford ourselves when we are moved by a song. I considered experiencing art as one would music; with trust in perception and intelligence of feeling. Each object is a note; building an arc and repeating; suggesting cycles and rhythm."

The Pavilion of Canada was built in 1958 under the direction of the National Gallery of Canada by famed Italian architect Enrico Peressutti, from the Milanese architectural firm Studio Architetti BBPR. It is situated between the pavilions of Britain and Germany within the Giardini di Castello.

Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, said:
"As the commissioning institution for the Pavilion of Canada at the 55th International Art Exhibition, the National Gallery of Canada is proud to present the work of Shary Boyle, one of Canada's brightest and most original artists."

George Lewis, Group Head, RBC Wealth Management & Insurance, said:
"As RBC Wealth Management continues to grow globally, so too does our long-standing commitment to the arts and to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. We are proud to play a role in bringing the best of Canada to an international audience."

Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada, Aimia, said:
"Aimia has been an enthusiastic patron of the arts, supporting artists and arts initiatives across Canada. This is our 8th year supporting the Biennale and the opening of the Pavilion of Canada has become a tradition for us."

About the artist: Shary Boyle
Born in Scarborough, Ontario in 1972, Shary Boyle graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1994. She has had solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, most recently Canadian Artist at the BMO Project Room, Toronto (2012); Flesh and Blood at UQAM, Montreal, Quebec which traveled to Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2011); The Illuminations Project with Emily Duke at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2011); Moon Hunter at Fumetto Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland (2009) and The History of Light at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2008).

Boyle also participated in L'Espace des métamorphoses, Biennale internationale de Vallauris, France (2012); My Winnipeg, La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris (2011) which traveled to Musée international des arts modestes, Sete, France and Plug In ICA,  Winnipeg (2012); Le sort probable de l'homme qui avait avalé le fantôme in conjunction with Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); and Noise Ghost (Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, (2009).

Shary Boyle presented a new theatre work Everything under The Moon with musical collaborator Christine Fellows at the Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto in February 2012 and has performed at La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2008); The Hammer Museum, LA (2006, 2008); the Olympia Theatre, Paris (2005); and The Sonar Festival, Barcelona (2005). She was the recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award (2010), GershonIskowitz Prize (2009) and was a finalist for the Sobey Award (2007, 2009).

About the curator: Josée Drouin-Brisebois
Shary Boyle's presentation for the Pavilion of Canada is curated by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada, working in close collaboration with the artist. Drouin-Brisebois organized the Canadian participation in la Biennale di Venezia, 2011 - Steven Shearer: Exhume to Consume. She has curated numerous important exhibitions including Arnaud Maggs: Identification (2012); It Is What It Is. Recent Acquisitions of New Canadian Art (2010-11); Nomads (2009); Caught in the Act: the Viewer as Performer (2008); De-con-structions (2007) and Christopher Pratt (2005). She has also co-curated Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque with Catherine Crowston and Jonathan Shaughnessy, Art Gallery of Alberta (2012); Spectral Landscape (2012) and The Shape of Things (2012) with David Liss, Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MOCCA).

About the selection process
Shary Boyle was chosen by a national selection committee under the direction of the National Gallery of Canada. Committee members included Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant, Toronto; Timothy Long, Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Josée Drouin-Brisebois and Marc Mayer of the National Gallery of Canada. The Venice Biennale is the only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official national representation and is among the most important contemporary exhibitions in the world, showcasing official entries from over 80 countries.

Shary Boyle: Music for Silence is accompanied by a catalogue. The 192-page volume in English, French and Italian highlights the artist's practice, which spans a diversity of media, including fine craft, drawing, sculpture, experimental performance and immersive installations. The catalogue includes a foreword by the National Gallery of Canada Gallery Director and CEO, Marc Mayer, as well as an insightful interview with the artist by Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada, and an essay by Louise Déry, director of the Galerie de l'UQAM, Université du Québec à Montréal. Explicit content. The catalogue will be on sale at the NGC Bookstore for $39.95 CDN and at the Gallery's online boutique.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information, visit

Visitor Information:
Address: Pavilion of Canada, Giardini di Castello, 30122 Venice
Dates: 1 June - 24 November 2013
Opening Times: 10 am - 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays
Vaporetto: Giardini
For more information on Shary Boyle: Music for Silence at the Pavilion of Canada visit:

SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada

For further information:

For media only

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada


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