We brought Vittorio Urbani from Nuova Icona in Venice to Vancouver in September of 1999 for two weeks. He conducted studio visits and attended a public reception that we arranged. The visit built on the relationship that we established with Urbani during our 1999 Biennale project. The aim is to set up new opportunities for exhibiting Canadian artists in Italy. We have discussed this project with Elena Solari, the Cultural Officer at the Canadian Embassy in Rome, and she has enthusiastically supported it as a much-needed initiative.
Vittorio Urbani is a prominent curator, based in Venice, Italy who has been organizing contemporary exhibitions since 1993 at the non-profit gallery Nuova Icona. He is the driving force behind Nuova Icona. In fact, it is located on the first floor of his house on the Giudecca. It is a contemporary art gallery, run by a non-profit private-funded cultural association of the same name. Under his artistic direction, Nuova Icona has held 40 shows, and published 30 catalogues since being formed in 1993. For two editions of the Venice Biennale, Nuova Icona organized the national official participation of Ireland in the show and is appointed again for the 1999 Biennale to host the Irish artists.
Since 1996, Nuova Icona launches a Prize for young artists living in different regions of Europe. The first edition has been dedicated to the Veneto Region, the second (1998) to the region of Berlin (Germany) in collaboration with Kunstlerhaus Bethanien.
The gallery is located in a XVI century house. They produce installations and exhibitions on and off site. Their mission is to create an environment "where different projects and experiences, without preclusion of tendencies, in the field of contemporary visual arts find a place for their realization". Past international projects have included works by Daniel Harvey and Heather Ackroyd, Jaki Irvine and Alastair MacLennan as part of the 1997 Biennale.
We worked with Urbani on the off site exhibition and performance for the Venice Biennale in June 1999 of "Walas Kwis Gila" by David Neel.
We want to expand on our cultural connections with him and a visit to Vancouver was a great first step. The public presentation/reception was an invitation to meet and discuss ideas with Urbani in a relaxed setting.
We received a Canada Council Visiting Curator's grant to bring Urbani over in September 1999.