Five must-see Venice pavilions

Published 29 May 2013

The Venice Biennale offers a global sampling of contemporary art, displayed in national pavilions and exhibitions across the city every two years. Here's our top five shows...

Many national pavilions are located in one of the two official biennale sites – the Giardini at the eastern tip of the city, and the Arsenale, former home of Venice’s ship-building industry – while others take over palaces and churches. The Venice Brennale runs from 1 June to 24 November and you can download our map of Venice showcasing the festival's main highlights.

1. Britain

Twenty-nine pavilions, including the British one, are housed in Venice’s largest park in the Giardini. This year Britain will be represented by Jeremy Deller. The Art Fund has supported the tour of his piece Magic England across the UK and this will be the first ever British Council Venice Biennale commission to be displayed for British audiences.

2. Portugal

Joana Vasconcelos’s work reflects the intersection of Portuguese geography and Venetian iconography and can be seen in this floating pavilion, moored in front of the Giardini, sailing around the lagoon at regular intervals daily. (Map number 4)

3. Iraq

Ikon Gallery director Jonathan Watkins curates this group show of work by 11 Iraqi artists. (Map number 11)

4. Scotland

Organised by The Common Guild, Glasgow, this show features work by Corin Sworn, Duncan Campbell and Hayley Tompkins. (Map number 13)

5. Wales

Bedwyr Williams’ The Starry Messenger is inspired by Galileo Galilei, telescopes and astronomy. (Map number 14)

Back to top