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Painting of St Sebastian by Mantegna

The Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice 2015 presentation is …the rest is smoke by artist Helen Sear, a Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales and curated by Ffotogallery.

…the rest is smoke comprises a suite of new work conceived for and presented in five discrete spaces within the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, a church and former convent in the Castello area of Venice. The title of the exhibition is taken from an inscription in Mantegna’s last painting of St. Sebastian, now housed in the Ca’ d’Oro in Venice: Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus.

Ideas of mortality and temporality are explored in a series of new works in which agricultural landscapes marked for production and consumption are seen to exist simultaneously as magical spaces, imprinting themselves on the body and mind of the viewer. Sear’s photographic and video work examines the image as sculptural form whereby the artist integrates different speeds of looking, contrasting physical scale, colour and vivid material presence. The individual works resonate strongly with each other and with the architectural site of the exhibition.

You may be interested in our learning resources - We are making available a wealth of content for online audiences, such as artist interviews, documentation of the exhibition as it evolves, as well as essays and workshops that shed light on Helen Sear’s working method and the wider curatorial process.

Gallery of Work


Ffotogallery has published a companion publication to the exhibition Helen Sear, …the rest is smoke. As well as images from the exhibition, the publication features a specially commissioned text by Steven Connor, Professor of English at the University of Cambridge; a short essay by Matthew Lovett (Composer, Company of Trees), and an ‘in conversation’ between curator Stuart Cameron and the artist illuminating the ideas and influences that have guided her in the development and realisation of the work.

The publication/ catalogue is available from our Santa Maria Ausiliatrice venue, and copies can also be requested directly from Ffotogallery for delivery later on in the summer.


Address & Opening Times

Helen Sear …the rest is smoke at Santa Maria Ausiliatrice Fondamenta San Gioacchino, 30122 Venezia

Preview Days - 6-8 May Open: 10.00 -18.00

Press Preview – 6 May 12.00 - 14.00

Exhibition - 9 May - 22 November 2015

Open: 10.00 - 18.00 (Closed on Mondays)

Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, venice

Santa Maria Ausiliatrice is a former convent now used as a community centre. The spaces used by Wales in Venice comprise the former chapel as well as a complement of contemporary rooms.

Situated midway between the main Biennale Giardini and Arsenale sites the Santa Maria Ausiliatrice is on Fondamenta San Gioacchino. Just off the wide Via Garibaldi it is very accessible and easy to find.

View the location of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice in a larger map.

How to find Santa Maria Ausiliatrice

1. Vaporetto lines 1, 41/42 Arsenale stop.

Walk over the bridge to the right to Riva S. Biagio. Turn left and walk to the end of Via Guiseppe Garibaldi. This is a wide street, the central canal having being drained and paved. When the canal is reinstated keep left, over one small bridge and Santa Maria Ausiliatrice is on the left on Fondamenta San Gioacchino.

2. Vaporetto lines 1, 2, 41/42, 51/52, 61/62 Giardini stop.

Walk directly through the park along Viale Garibaldi which brings you out at the end of Via Garibaldi. At the canal (Rio di S. Anna) keep left to Fondamenta San Gioacchino.

The route along Viale Garibaldi is also the main walkway from the Giardini to the Arsenale or vice versa.