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EM15 Venice – Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf / Sunscreen

9 May, 2015 at 12:00 am - 26 Jul, 2015 at 12:00 am

We are very excited that New Art Exchange, a member of the EM15 partnership, will present Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.

This will be the first time the East Midlands region is represented at the Venice Biennale.

EM15 (www.em15venice.co.uk)

EM15 is a new partnership between artist-led organisations and institutions from the East Midlands, UK,: New Art Exchange, QUAD, One Thoresby Street, Beacon Art Project and the academic partner Nottingham Trent University, with digital engagement support from the University of Nottingham.

EM15 invites you to tee off at the Biennale this year with Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf, a fully playable mini-golf course for which nine artists have each been commissioned to design a hole.

Mini, or crazy golf, as it is sometimes know, with its comical miniature obstacle courses and associations with tacky seaside holidays, sits strangely comfortably in the modern Venetian cityscape, which attracts a mix of well-heeled and mass-market holiday- makers and cultural adventurers: a water-side tourist trap spilling over with baubles; a city bursting with unparalleled cultural riches.

Doug Fishbone’s course invites the artists to respond to ‘The Leisure Principle’, where consumer satisfaction is prioritised at all costs. Each of the holes can be read as an autonomous work, but by playing a round and immersing oneself in the game, one can experience a coherent and at times disturbing sense of a world (mis)shapen by our consumer habits and desires.

Alongside Leisure Land Golf, EM15 has commissioned Sunscreen – an online project by artist Candice Jacobs that includes the work of 40 artists invited by Jacobs and the EM15 partnership, each with a connection to the East Midlands. Artists have been invited to create new digital works in response to ‘The Leisure Principle’, each of which is distributed as a free downloadable screensaver. Sunscreen highlights issues around the distribution and consumption of digital artworks and the space that exists between work and leisure – a space of the subconscious shaping of our tastes, aspirations, desires, notions of escapism and value systems.

John Akomfrah examines the mediated images of death, in particular of unarmed African Americans shot by police in the United States in recent years, where the hoodie, the ubiquitous costume of the disenfranchised youth, becomes a threat to the status quo.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Globalisation has ostensibly opened up borders but some boundaries remain inflexible and ironclad. Yara El-Sherbini replicates various aspects of the day-to-day reality within territories under occupation, exploring separation barriers as an historical and universal means to control and limit the movement of people worldwide.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Doug Fishbone presents a model of the wreck of the Costa Concordia, which was driven into the rocks off the coast of Italy by its captain in 2012. Like few other symbols, the cruise ship embodies the contradictions of capitalism – class divisions and reckless leadership, indifference to its workers, disregard of the environment, the hidden price tag for a few days of fun in the sun.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Ellie Harrison speculates that the UK as an island state is likely to remain temperate as global temperatures continue to rise and many parts of the world become uninhabitable. The indirect impact of this on the UK could be a massive influx of “climate refugees”, making the current backlash and animosity towards immigrants we are currently witnessing in Europe seem trivial.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Candice Jacobs explores the meaninglessness of aspiration within cognitive capital frameworks. Making reference to the seductive use of capital and gender in popular television game shows, Jacobs questions whether our habitual behavioural patterns can be influenced by television programming and the internet, to make us vulnerable to exploitation by global markets and governments.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Hetain Patel’s squatting figure exhibits a characteristic posture of India that is only adopted by the working and lower classes. The displacement of this posture to Europe in a game of mini golf – itself a working class leisure activity – frames industrial cultural exchange, specifically production lines involved in import/export.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


In our age of globalisation, the mercantile and maritime history of Venice, of fading power and the exchange of goods between trading nations is brought to mind by Lindsay Seers. A mysterious carved figure reminiscent of a figurehead from the prow of a sailing ship appears decayed as if lying on the bottom of the seabed.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Yinka Shonibare MBE explores the complexity of contemporary African identity and power relations between the West and Africa. The football pitch becomes a site for the struggle for economic survival, played out by the African football player for both himself and his team. This explosive tension is represented by a mushroom cloud of footballs decorated with Shonibare’s signature African textiles.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Eyal Weizman presents an abstracted scale model of Kaliningrad, formerly known as Konigsberg, a city in Russia connected by seven bridges over the River Pregel. The aim of the game, based on the famed mathematical conundrum of the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, is to return to your starting point by playing the ball across each bridge once only, a seemingly impossible task. The problem was unwittingly solved by RAF bombers during the last months of WWII, who made the route navigable by demolishing two of the original bridges.

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Photograph by Thierry Bal


Sunscreen Artists include: Pio Abad, Frank Abbott, Liam Aiken, Bruce Asbestos, Jonathan Baldock & Rafal Zajko, Anna Barham, Dinah Berger, Wayne Burrows, Clare Charnley, Lotti Closs, Mike Cooter, Blue Curry, Blue Firth, Alice Gale Feeny, Lynn Fulton, GST (Laura Mahony, Dale Fearnley), Julie Henry & Debbie Bragg, Joey Holder, Abi Hubbard, Harminder Singh Judge, Jake Kent, John Lawrence, Feng-Ru Lee, Dinu Li, David Moore, Scott Mason, Shana Moulton, Fay Nicholson, Karl Ohiri & Sayed Hasan, Rebecca Ounstead, Alex Pain, Mathew Parkin, Alia Pathan, Yelena Popova, Sooree Pillay @ # 61, Simon Raven, Joe Hannibal Rowley, Oliver Tirre, Freddy Tuppen, Jessica Voorsanger

Curatorial Team

Peter Bonnell (QUAD), Louise Clements (QUAD), Skinder Hundal (New Art Exchange), Candice Jacobs (One Thoresby Street), Melanie Kidd (New Art Exchange), John Plowman (Beacon Art Project)

EM15 opening dates and venue address

Venue address: 40, Castello. 30122 – Venice

Previews for Press and Arts Professionals Wednesday 6th May – Friday 8th May 2015

Open to the public: Saturday 9th May 2015 – Sunday 26th July 2015

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm (closed Mondays)

Launch event: Thursday 7th May 2015, 5 – 7pm