The British Council is delighted to announce that Phyllida Barlow has been selected to represent Britain at the 57th Venice International Art Biennale. She will present a major solo show in the British Pavilion, which will run from 13 May to 26 November 2017. The Artistic Director of the 57th International Art Biennale will be Christine Macel.

Best known for her colossal sculptural projects, for over four decades Phyllida Barlow has employed a distinctive vocabulary of inexpensive materials such as plywood, cardboard, plaster, cement, fabric and paint to create striking sculptures and bold and expansive installations that confront the relationship between objects and the space that surrounds them. Drawing on memories of familiar objects from her surroundings, Barlow’s practice is grounded in an anti-monumental tradition characterised by her physical experience of handling materials in an expedient and direct way.

Phyllida Barlow said: “It is an extraordinary privilege and honour to be invited to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale 2017. I am astonished, thrilled and, of course, hugely excited. It is going to be a remarkable experience to begin to consider the work for the imposing architecture of the British pavilion. I cannot imagine a more invigorating and wonderful challenge. The international diversity for which the Biennale is so renowned within the particular context of Venice is a unique and stimulating creative opportunity beyond my wildest dreams.”

The 2017 Venice Biennale Selection Committee, which advises the British Council on the UK's representation in the British Pavilion, is made up of the following members:  

Maria Balshaw, Director, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Alfredo Cramerotti, Director, MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales

Jennifer Higgie, Editor, Frieze Magazine

Skinder Hundal, Chief Executive, New Art Exchange, Nottingham

Sarah McCrory, Director, Glasgow International, Glasgow, Scotland

Helen Legg, Director, Spike Island, Bristol

Matt Packer, Director, Centre for Contemporary Art, Derry, Northern Ireland

Alastair Sooke, Art Critic and Columnist, The Daily Telegraph and BBC

Emma Dexter, British Council Director, Visual Arts and Chair of the Venice Biennale Selection Committee, said: “I am truly delighted that Phyllida Barlow has been selected to represent Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Barlow’s imposing sculptures and installations have enthralled and intrigued audiences around the globe in recent years. Her work combines physical impressiveness with intricate and highly considered details with regard to materials and techniques, allowing questions of making and experimentation to be at the core of her work.  Barlow transforms and dynamically alters every exhibition space she encounters. I am hugely excited at the prospect of seeing what she will bring to the neo-classicism of the British Pavilion.”

Barlow’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions around the world. Her latest exhibitions include the recently opened ARTIST ROOMS, Tate Modern, London (2016) as well as tryst, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas (2015); the Duveens Commission dock, Tate Britain, London (2014) and GIG, the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Somerset (2014).

Find out more about the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

For press enquiries about Phyllida Barlow's commission for the British Pavilion, please contact:
Chloe Kinsman and Florence Ritter, Pelham Communications
chloe@pelhamcommunications.com / florence@pelhamcommunications.com / +44 20 8969 3959