Therme Group partnered with the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2022 for the fourth consecutive year, supporting Sonia Boyce’s installation Feeling Her Way which was awarded the Golden Lion Award for best national participation. Additionally, Therme Art co-hosted a benefit for Ukraine humanitarian and cultural organisations raising over 1.4 million EUR.
Feeling Her Way in Room 3 of the British Pavilion featuring performers Jacqui Dankworth and Sofia Jernberg, 2022. Image credit: Cristiano Corte © British Council
Therme Group supported Sonia Boyce’s major solo exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2022, commissioned by the British Council to represent Great Britain in the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition. This marks Therme’s fourth consecutive partnership with the British Council at the Venice Art and Architecture Biennials.
Running from 23 April–27 November 2022, Sonia Boyce’s installation Feeling Her Way in the British Pavilion immerses visitors in the collaborative dynamism of five Black female musicians (four British, one Swedish) brought together by the artist to improvise, interact, and play with their voices. Colour-tinted video works take centre stage among Boyce’s signature tessellating wallpapers and golden 3-D geometric structures, which bring the audience into the work through their highly reflective surfaces. The rooms of the pavilion are filled with sounds — sometimes harmonious, sometimes clashing – embodying feelings of freedom, power and vulnerability.
This new commission expands on Boyce’s Devotional Collection, built over 20+ years and spanning more than three centuries, which honours the substantial contribution of Black British female musicians to the emotional lives of the public and to transnational culture. Works from this collection – vinyl, CDs, books and ephemera – form part of the installation in the pavilion, elevated by golden plinths.
Following the critics' acclaim of Feeling Her Way —praised by The Guardian as a ‘a glorious cacophony of Black female voices’— Boyce was announced as the winner of the Golden Lion for best national participation. The jury said of the installation: “Sonia Boyce proposes, consequently, another reading of histories through the sonic. In working collaboratively with other black women, she unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories.”
Therme Group and Therme Art are thrilled to celebrate this award alongside our partners at the British Council, including Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion, and Emma Ridgway, The Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion, and join the art world in commending Boyce for her remarkable work.
Sonia Boyce receiving the Golden Lion for best national participation at the 59th International Art Exhibition –La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams. Photo by: AVZ-Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia
Sonia Boyce OBE RA, 2022 British Pavilion Artist and Golden Lion Winner
On April 21, in collaboration with the British Council and in partnership with the Serpentine, Therme Art mounted the third edition of its annual Wellbeing Culture Forum at the British Pavilion: The Impact of Social Practice. The panel discussion drew upon Boyce’s installation to explore the social components of her process, highlighting its historical context and political significance, alongside the practices of other artists whose work centres on community in order to provoke change.
Sonia Boyce speaking at the Wellbeing Culture Forum: the Impact of Social Practice. She was on a panel with Emma Ridgeway, The Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion (centre left) and Precious Okoyomon, Artist, Poet, and Chef (centre right). The panel was moderated by Monilola Ilupeju, Artist and Curator at Therme Art (right) and Hans Ulrich Ubrist, Curator and Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries (left)
On 21 April, Therme Art, through its initiative the Ikona Collection, together with TBA21 and the Brant Foundation, co-hosted a special benefit event during the Venice Biennale, with proceeds dedicated to supporting pressing humanitarian needs in Ukraine, including cultural workers and resources.
Raising a total of 1.4 million EUR, the dinner and live auction conducted by Simon de Pury took place at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, Italy, drawing over 230 attendees. The event was held in celebration of Ukrainian culture, aligned under the mission to prevent the extinction of cultural identity targeted by genocide. The recipients included Maria Prymachenko Family Foundation, Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund, 100% Life, the Museum Crisis Centre, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, Museums for Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Emergency Pavilion.
The benefit was hosted by Peter Brant Jr, Ivy Getty, Cecilia Alemani, Princess Alia Al-Senussi, Klaus Biesenbach, Stefano Boeri, Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir, Simon de Pury, Larry Gagosian, Marc Glimcher and Fairfax Dorn, Robert Hanea, Maja Hoffmann, Maria Isserlis, Simon Lee, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Ulla Parker, Erica Pelosini, Mikolaj Sekutowicz and Sara Farai, Tej Tadi and Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Natalia Gnatiuk, Anastasiia Prymachenko, Maria Isserlis and Simon de Pury at the Benefit for Ukraine’s People and Culture