top of page
10/05/2017 - 26/11/2017

Artists Michal Cole and Ekin Onat confirmed to stage collaborative exhibition Objection at The Pavilion of Humanity for the duration of the 57th Venice Biennale opening in May 2017

Two female artists Michal Cole (b. 1974, Israel) and Ekin Onat (b. 1976, Turkey) have been announced to take over the historical villa of Casetta Rosa overlooking the Grand Canal for the entire duration of the 57th Venice Biennale, May to November 2017. Objection will be the latest iteration of The Pavilion of Humanity,

an on-going artistic project space housed in a peripatetic ‘Pavilion’.

Without a singular physical home, The Pavilion of Humanity is a pop-up space in artistic response to the growing political unrest, conceit and eroding of borders both physical and mental in contemporary society. Objection is supported by the University of the Arts London.

Politicised gender and national identity are concerns at the centre of both Onat and Cole’s art. Setting up in the meticulously restored and preserved villa at the base of the Academia Bridge, Cole and Onat’s collaboration will distort the domestic into a place of protest. In this traditional Venetian house, viewers will encounter installations in the kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom, each altering the meaning of these overly familiar surroundings and their relationship to inhabitants within, questioning the idea of ‘home’ as a politically neutral space. While works on the ground floor of the exhibition will address the private-yet-public dichotomy of their familial environment, the upstairs will be more discreet; the sound of voices behind locked doors, the shadow play of silhouettes against a bedroom wall, the works adopting the function of this floor as a restorative place of rest and contemplation.

For her soft sculptural installation Michal Cole uses discarded men’s ties, a symbol of male power dress and formality, appropriated into the walls and ceilings, thus creating a cavernous intimacy and duplicity; part mental institution padded cell, part riotous party, liberation and celebratory abandon of societal norms. These questions of gender continue in her sculptural video installations. The idea of sound, voice and when a woman can be heard are central concerns of her video works that hide within the mundane kitchen cups, bowls and teapots, silently screaming.

A Turkish woman, Ekin Onat is a vocal opponent of the current political regime and inherent ideological propaganda that dominates her homeland. Questions of civil society and freedom of speech are at the centre of her performance and subsequent installation works within the dining room. Under direct scrutiny in Onat’s work is the role of the Çevik Kuvvet (“Agile Force”), the police rapid response unit used in the
recent attempted military coup in Turkey. A performance artist, she will undertake a corporeal performance involving riot-police uniforms during the opening week of the Biennale.

Objection is curated by Gillian Fox. 

A catalogue of the exhibition will be available. 

Open daily from 11 May to 30 November 2017

The Pavilion of Humanity, Campiello S. Vidal, Venice, Italy 

Opening hours: 10.00-18.00  Free entrance 

For press information please contact Oliver Krug on or +34 684308384.


Michal Cole is a contemporary artist whose work addresses boundaries inherent in both her national culture and chosen artistic mediums. She was born in Haifa, Israel in 1974 to Moroccan parents who had fled to the country for fear of persecution in their home state. She immigrated to London UK in 1997 studying for her BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art, followed by an MA Fine Art degree from Chelsea College of Art.

Cole has exhibited worldwide and continues to receive plaudits for her work. She was winner of the My Art Space Scope Miami competition, the 2011 Signature Art Awards; and Saatchi Gallery’s Showdown competition award in London. In 2015 Cole exhibited a solo show during the Venice Biennale. She lives and works in London UK. Cole’s work has a sense of displacement and exile - both internal and external. The division of her life between Eastern and Western cultures emerges through her art, as it exposes the turmoil between her adopted European life and her heritage - the collision of tradition and modernity. Emergent in this examination of cultural conflict, Cole’s art studies the role of women and feminism, in an attempt to expose the absurdity of global inequality.

Ekin Onat was born in 1976 in Istanbul, Turkey. Trained in Classical Ballet, she started working in plastic arts in 2006, with a particular focus on conceptual art, performance and installations. These particular artistic languages allow her the freedom to work across a vast range of materials and ideas, giving her unrestricted access to all possible modes of creative expression. Her work draws from constant self-reflection, nurtured by her feminist and social politics. Being a Turkish woman, much of her art naturally responds to the conservative and clerical convictions of the political elite that impede contemporary Turkish society. Onat’s work analyses the reverberations of this rift and hypocrisy on humankind, drawing attention to the suffocating consequences for individuals that are either crushed or singled out due to their believes, gender or race.

Gillian Fox’s curatorial practice resides firmly in the uncanny. As curator of numerous exhibitions, public art projects and performances, her signature is an arresting approach to the commonplace everyday. Utilising socially active spaces, previous projects have taken place in residential parks, outdoor swimming pools, a WW2 bunker, traversing 12 city blocks in New York, or disused streets in Lisbon. Trained in Fine Art and Theory, she was Exhibition Organiser for Aperture Photographic Foundation in New York and currently works for the Hayward Gallery, London on their national touring programme. She has organised exhibitions with Jeremy Deller, Brian Dillon, and Elizabeth Price, and recently curated Claude Cahun: Beneath This Mask; J.D. Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headdresses for Hayward Touring and Olmo Blanco: Instalodecoraciones for Concrete at Hayward Gallery.

She is currently project curator for quinquennial survey exhibition, British Art Show 8, as well as working on a new large-scale installation by the Finnish Sami Artist Outi Pieski, for installation at Southbank Centre, London.

bottom of page