In 2009 as the New Zealand Representative at the 53rd Venice Biennale, Judy Millar ‘took over' the interior of the Neo-Classical structure La Maddalena, the only circular church in Venice. The largest piece in Millar's exhibition, sited in the centre of the church, was a painting in the round, bulging and intruding into the viewer's space in three dimensions. In other parts of the church oddly- shaped canvasses leant against the walls, stretching their elongated necks to the ceiling, making obvious their temporary placement in Venice and their provisional relationship with this place of worship and belief.
The generous and unusual physical dimensions of La Maddalena allowed for a full play of spatial disruptions, dislocations and inversions. A large visceral image surged and looped around the circular space, channelling the path of the viewer and establishing views and vistas around and across the architectural space. Tensions between notions of inside and outside, large and small and real and illusionistic space unfolded.
The exhibition Giraffe-Bottle-Gun instigated a lively dispute with the venue in which it intrudes, between the great history of Venetian painting and this contemporary practice.
At the conclusion of the Biennale, the exhibition toured to Te Papa Tongarewa, Muesum of New Zealand, Wellington. A publication of the same title was published by Kerber Art, Germany the same year. More information on the publication can be seen on our publications page.