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Baxendale’s Venice Biennale installation bought by hosts

Happenstance kids and sculpt bash khan
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A structure designed by Glasgow’s Baxendale Studio for this year’s Venice Biennale is to remain in the garden of the Armenian College’s Palazzo Zenobio after being bought by its host

The Armenian Mekhitarist Fathers of Venice agreed to purchase the ‘armature’, a temporary public space, for €1.01 from art organisation WAVEparticle after a swell of interest in the facility from locals.

Baxendale directors Lee Ivett and Ambrose Gillick created the installation to host ideas, literature, debate and events during Happenstance – the wider banner for all of Scotland’s activities in Venice this year. Its use as an open air cinema has particularly grabbed the Venetian imagination.

WAVEparticle curator Peter McCaughey told the AJ: ’The armature was due to run its course on 25 June. Scotland has a small budget and we would have to have kept paying rent or pay to destall it. We thought that wasn’t good enough and looked for ways to build something available for longer.

’The Armenian College runs the Palazzo Zenobio and leased us the space. Now it has bought the structure we don’t have to pay rent or incure the cost of destalling the work.

’It is 90 per cent certain to last until November now – the end of the Biennale – and the next step is beyond that date, which is ambitious. Beyond November is possible.’

It is understood that the installation has been extremely popular with locals and could have a future as a public garden with green space and events.

Baxendale Studio said on Instagram: ’This project, which should have been taken down this weekend, has been purchased by the venue and continues to be occupied and programmed by local people and groups given its popularity as a unique active public space in Venice […] Interested to see how long the good times continue. The support and love for this project has been extremely humbling.’

Happenstance brings together artists and architects to work with young people across Scotland to discover what ‘freespace’ – the theme of the Biennale – means to them and their communities. The initiative is supported and promoted by the Scotland + Venice partnership, made up of the Scottish government, Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, the British Council and the Year of Young People/Young Scot.

Glasgow-based WAVEparticle is working with a team including architects from Fergus Purdie Architects, Baxendale Studio, Austin-Smith:Lord and Stallan-Brand.

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