Anna McNay

Interview with Graham Fagen at Scotland + Venice 2015, Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale, at Palazzo Fontana


Graham Fagen: Scotland + Venice 2015

Collateral Event of the 56th International Art
Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Fontana, Cannaregio 3829-3830, Venice

9 May – 22 November 2015

For the Scotland + Venice 2015 collateral event of the 56th Venice
Biennale, Glasgow-based artist Graham Fagen has filled the formerly mercantile
Palazzo Fontana with an intriguing homage both to his homeland and to the
Jamaican culture that influenced him as a teenager – bringing out surprising
links between the two, as well as to Venice itself, which Fagen describes as “a
cultural hub for the world”.

A towering rope tree in the first room makes reference to the trading
history of the Italian city, while a series of ink drawings, based on Fagen’s
teeth imprints, and his tactile “squeezees” and teeth casts present a more
personal angle, rooting the show in Fagen’s own cultural history and physical

Throughout the palazzo, the tone is set by the strained strings echoing
from the major collaboration in the final room. The five-channel audiovisual
work was produced together with composer Sally Beamish, the musicians of the
Scottish Ensemble, reggae singer and musician Ghetto Priest and the music producer
Adrian Sherwood and presents a melancholic classical-cum-reggae dub
interpretation of The Slave’s Lament, published by Scottish national hero Robert
Burns in 1792.

To watch the interview, please go to: