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Cathy Wilkes



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A collection of 13 paintings by British Pavilion artist Cathy Wilkes commissioned for the 58th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia.

Renowned for her distinctive and highly personal sculptural installations featuring humanoid figures that highlight the tender intimacy of everyday life, Wilkes’ exhibition will feature new paintings and sculptures that will provoke a strong emotional response in viewers, set against the backdrop of the grand architecture of the British Pavilion. Narratives and histories which often evoke interiors and places of loss or solitude are suggested through her evocative objects but never explicitly expressed, and indeed Wilkes resists written descriptions and explanations of her work, intentionally not naming her installations, assemblages and exhibitions in a bid to keep open the viewer’s perceptions.

This publication, one of the only existing books on the artist, features a new set of prints related to the highly anticipated work for the Biennale, and providing rare insights into Wilkes’ creative process. An essay by curator Zoé Whitley explores Wilkes’ art in the context of the artist’s acceptance of ambiguity as a key element in her intense and mysterious work.

Designed by Berlin-based book designer Yvonne Quirmbach in close collaboration with the artist herself, this unique publication is as much an artist’s book as a record of this major international exhibition.

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May 2019




208mm x 250mm





No. of pages:


Cathy Wilkes was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2008, and was awarded the inaugural Maria Lassing Prize in 2016, a biennial award to honour the achievements of mid-career artists. She has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; the Modern Institute, Glasgow; Tate, Liverpool; Kunstverein, Munich and Studio Voltaire, London. Wilkes lives and works in Glasgow.

Dr Zoé Whitley is Senior Curator at the Hayward Gallery, London. Prior to her role at the Hayward, she was Curator of International Art, at Tate Modern, London where she co-curated the exhibition Soul of a Nation. Whitley curated works by Jenny Holzer, Lubaina Himid and Isaac Julien, among others. She is the first mid-career curator attached to the British Pavilion for the International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Yvonne Quirmbach is an artist and book designer based in Berlin, Germany.

Frieze Magazine – Double Life


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