Vancouver artist Stan Douglas to represent Canada at Venice Biennale

Contemporary artist Stan Douglas will be heading to the Venice Biennale next year as Canada’s official representative at the prestigious art fair.

Vancouver-based Douglas will create a new work for the Canadian Pavilion in Venice for the 2021 edition, the National Gallery of Canada announced early Wednesday. 

“Douglas is one of the country’s most internationally respected artists, with a practice recognized for its critical imagination, formal ingenuity and deep commitment to social enquiry,” the selection committee said in a statement.

The committee, which includes National Gallery director Sasha Suda and chief curator Kitty Scott, also hailed the 59-year-old artist’s “re-imagination of the mediums of photography and multi-channel film and video installation” and the “currency of Douglas’ practice.”

Founded in 1895, the event is a visual arts festival held ever two years in Venice. It was originally aimed at creating a market for contemporary art and has grown steadily in prominence ever since.

Douglas is known for a body of work — including photography, video and film installations, theatre productions and multidisciplinary projects — that explores periods of tension, local histories, reflections about society and obsolescence through cinematic, highly detailed, staged presentations. 

His creations have appeared in exhibitions around the globe — including at previous editions of the Biennale — and are held in the collection of major museums, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, London’s Tate Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery in Ottawa. 

He has earned recognition both at home and abroad, with the Scotiabank Photography Award, the Hasselblad Award, the Infinity Award for Art from the International Center of Photography and, last fall, the Audain Prize for the Visual Arts among his accolades in recent years.

Douglas joins a prestigious group of Canadian artists chosen as Canada’s official representative at the Biennale, including Emily Carr, Jean-Paul Riopelle, General Idea, Rebecca Belmore, Shary Boyle and the Isuma collective.