Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale opens Shary Boyle Music for Silence

Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale presents Shary Boyle Music for Silence on view June 1–November 24, 2013.

The National Gallery of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts today announced the opening of 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.

Exploring ideas of silence, isolation and solitude, Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle has created an immersive installation for her national presentation in the Giardini. 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, which was built in 1958 and is situated between the British and German pavilions. The exhibition merges imagination and folklore with humanistic, feminist and social concerns. Visitors to the Canada Pavilion 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.

Shary Boyle works in a range of media including sculpture, drawing, painting and performance. Music for Silence showcases the exceptional level of hand-made craft signature to her practice. 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.”

Shary Boyle’s installation at the Pavilion of Canada is supported by major sponsors RBC Wealth Management and Aimia.

About 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 galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, Quebec which travelled 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, Sète, France (2012); Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé le fantôme in conjunction with Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Noise Ghost (Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, (2009).

Curator: Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Canada
Commissioner: National Gallery of Canada and Canada Council for the Arts
Sponsors: RBC Wealth Management and Aimia

Pavilion of Canada at the 55th International
Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Giardini di Castello