Venice Biennale 2021: Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas © Evann Kheraj. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro and David Zwirner

Multidisciplinary artist Stan Douglas has been chosen to represent Canada at the 59th Venice Biennale, the prestigious exhibition of international contemporary art staged every two years in the Giardini di Castello, the Arsenale and other venues across the city. Based in Vancouver, Douglas works in photography, film, video installation and, most recently, theatre production, creating art that reflects what he calls "speculative histories" – explorations of historical moments related to cultural change and political revolution.

Recognized as one of Canada's most distinguished contemporary artists, Douglas has exhibited internationally for the past 30 years, with works in major collections around the world. Last year, his installation Doppelgänger (2019) was included in May You Live in Interesting Times, the exhibition curated by Biennale director Ralph Rugoff for the 58th Venice Biennale. His compelling six-hour video work Luanda-Kinshasa (2013), depicting a fictional recording session in the reconstructed Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York, was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada and formed part of the 2017 Canadian Biennial exhibition.

Selected by a national committee of experts in contemporary art, comprising John Zeppetelli (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal), Reid Shier (The Polygon Gallery), Sasha Suda and Kitty Scott (National Gallery of Canada), the jury stated: "Douglas is one of the country’s most internationally respected artists, with a practice recognized for its critical imagination, formal ingenuity and deep commitment to social enquiry. In conversation, the jury cited the artist’s continuing re-imagination of the mediums of photography and multi-channel film and video installation, together with his paradigmatic investigations into the relation of local histories with generational social forces. The currency of his practice is especially relevant in the context of the Biennale’s global dialogues.”


The 59th Biennale di Venezia will take place from May to November 2021. Exhibitions in the Canada Pavilion are commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada and produced in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. The Canadian representation in 2021 is made possible through the generous financial support of the presenting sponsor Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), and through the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. The video installation Doppelgänger by Stan Douglas is currently on view at David Zwirner Gallery in New York (to February 22, 2020) and also at Victoria Miro Gallery in London, UK (January 31 to March 14, 2020). Share this article and subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest articles, Gallery exhibitions, news and events, and to learn more about art in Canada.​


2017 Canadian Biennial: Stan Douglas

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