Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow

Phyllida Barlow: folly at the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale

The British Council commissioned VocalEyes to develop an audio described guide for Phyllida Barlow’s exhibition, entitled ‘folly’, for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2017.

Phyllida Barlow has transformed everyday materials, such as timber, concrete and fabric, into bold sculptures that infiltrate the entire building, reaching up to the roof and even spilling outside.

View of the British Pavilion, Venice Biennale
Installation view, folly, Phyllida Barlow, British Pavilion, Venice, 2017. Photo: Ruth Clark © British Council. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

The first impression of the Pavilion entrance, populated with brightly coloured baubles jostling around the neoclassical portico and steps, appears joyful and celebratory. But these monstrous bulging forms also have a sinister quality as they press towards the viewer, taking over and dominating the space.

Inside the Pavilion, the viewer is confronted by an awe-inspiring sculptural ensemble of columns that ascend dramatically up to the ceiling. These densely-packed forms encourage the visitor to take on the role of an explorer, picking their way around and through a sculptural labyrinth.

If you can’t get to Venice, you can listen here online.

Phyllida Barlow’s British Council commission is at the Biennale Arte 2017 from 13 May to 26 November.