Simon Denny, Secret Power (2015). Exhibition view: New Zealand Pavillion, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana and Marco Polo Airport, Venice Biennale. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin; Michael Lett, Auckland, New Zealand; Petzel Gallery, New York. Image via The Pantograph Punch.
New Zealand's official platform at the Venice Biennale began in 2001, and our formal representation was arguably already overdue at this point. There had been anomalous instances of New Zealanders exhibiting at the Biennale: Frances Hodgkins (she was meant to be in a group show representing Britain, though this was never realised because of World War II), Kate Coolahan (works shown in 1972), Boyd Webb (as a part of Aperto 86), and later Simon Denny (in a curated show, 2013). Then there were the moments when it was like Federation had gone ahead, as New Zealanders showed works in various Australian exhibitions: Rosalie Gascoigne (1982), Richard Killeen (1990), and Daniel von Sturner (2007).