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Glasgow artists showcase Scotland in Venice

A DISINTIGRATING tiled Glasgow hallway, films about colonialism and freedom, and a new dance work from leading Scottish ballet director Michael Clark have been unveiled as Scotland's weighty contribution to the world's biggest art festival.

New works by three Glasgow-based artists – Corin Sworn, Duncan Campbell and Hayley Tompkins will be showcased at the Palazzo Pisani at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Films on capitalism and Peruvian society, painted works laid on the floor, and the replicated Glasgow tenement hall tiling pattern will all feature in Scotland + Venice, one of more than 40 "collateral" events at the vast festival.

Katrina Brown, the curator of the show that marks 10 years of a separate Scottish presence at the festival, said the display shows Scotland's "diverse and strong" arts scene as well as being both "tough and tender".

The three pieces feature an international outlook. Two films, by Campbell and Sworn, focus on Africa, France and Peru, while Tompkins's painted piece, with acrylic works in plastic trays, has images of Sao Paulo and outer space.

Mr Campbell's dance work is a chapter of the film shot over several days with dancers from the Michael Clark Company at the CCA in Glasgow.

The dance piece, with dancers in black shot from above, is part of the film, It For Others, made by Campbell which considers weighty themes of colonisation, capitalism, and commodity exchange.

The dancers become signs in equations and economics diagrams.

The colourful patterned Glasgow floor tiles are part of the work by Sworn, who has also shot a film about her father's sociological travels in Peru.

Venice Biennale also features 88 national pavilions, including the UK, which this year showcases the work of Jeremy Deller, the artist who brought the "bouncy Stonehenge" to Glasgow in 2012.

A team from Creative Scotland arrived in Italy last night and Fiona Hyslop, the Culture Secretary, is to arrive tomorrow.

Ms Brown, who is director of Glasgow's The Common Guild, which has curated and organised the show, said: "We were very mindful that the last shows here were very physical and scupltural, and that film and video has been such an important part of art in Scotland in the last 15 years.

"We needed to address that and Duncan has been one of the leading figures in that for a while," she added.

"Corin, in an earlier stage, is getting a lot of attention."

The curator said the show, which has cost around £500,000 to stage, shows there is no set "Scottish style" any more in contemporary art.

She added: "This is three artists with three very different practices, all with strong links with Scotland and with Glasgow in particular. It is reflecting how art in Scotland looks right now, and that is both diverse and strong.

"From essay films and documentary media through to painting, there is no dominant tendency or look or medium or style – there is an incredible breadth of activity now."

The 55th Venice Biennale runs from June 1 to November 2013.

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