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Gallery head takes place on global stage

The director of the University’s Talbot Rice Gallery is representing Ireland at the world’s biggest international art exhibition.

Tessa Giblin is the Pavilion of Ireland’s commissioner and curator at the Venice Biennale.

She is working with the artist Jesse Jones to present the film and performance work Tremble Tremble.

Its title is inspired by the 1970s Italian wages for housework movement, ‘Tremate, tremate, le streghe sono tornate!’ meaning tremble, tremble, the witches have returned!

Ms Giblin says the new work emerges from a rising social movement in Ireland which calls for a transformation of the historic relationship between the church and the state.

International pavilion

The Venice Biennale – the world’s oldest international art exhibition – attracts more than half a million visitors every year.

Ireland’s pavilion is one of 86 national exhibition spaces. Ireland at Venice is at the Arsenale - a main venue of the Biennale until 26 November.

The Irish team was selected by an international jury.

Ms Giblin and Ms Jones were announced as the official Irish representatives in March 2016. They have worked together for several years, and on this project since late 2015.

Distinguished guest

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins – an Edinburgh honorary graduate – visited the opening of the pavilion.

President Higgins met with Ms Giblin, Ms Jones and Christine Sisk, director of Cultural Ireland.

Originally from New Zealand, Ms Giblin’s first experience of Europe was invigilating her home country’s show at the 2005 Biennale.

 I am so proud to represent Ireland. When I first came to the Venice Biennale, I had just graduated from college and it was such a learning experience. The Biennale is super fun.

Jesse JonesArtist

Future show

Tremble Tremble will open at the Talbot Rice Gallery in October 2018. 

We’ll be bringing Tremble Tremble back to Scotland late next year and I hope to develop a bigger conceptual exhibition through all our spaces around the key ideas within it. The Talbot Rice Gallery has a real energy, a friction between the old and the new. So I really want to use this when working with artists around the collection.

Tessa GiblinDirector of the Talbot Rice Gallery

International links

Ms Giblin’s stewardship of the Irish pavilion is not the only link that the University has with this year’s Biennale.

Rachel Maclean, who graduated from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) in 2009, represents Scotland as part of Scotland + Venice.

Her work, Spite Your Face, is commissioned and curated by Alchemy Film & Arts in partnership with the University.

Elsewhere at the Biennale, ECA graduate Takahiro Iwasaki is representing Japan. Born in Hiroshima, Iwasaki studied an MFA at Edinburgh before graduating in 2005.

Edinburgh has a very proud tradition of being an international University and I am hoping that students, colleagues and visitors will really get a sense that the University is part of this bigger picture in art and curatorship in the 21st century.

Professor Chris BrewardPrincipal of Edinburgh College of Art

Talbot Rice Gallery

Edinburgh College Art 

Biennale Arte 2017

Ireland at Venice