Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Venice art date for Velvet star

John Cale
Cale co-founded Velvet Underground in New York in 1963

Velvet Underground founding member John Cale is to represent Wales at a major contemporary art exhibition.

The 66-year-old musician will produce new audio-visual work, in collaboration with artists, filmmakers and poets, for the Venice Biennale of Art next year.

The work is said to be influenced by Cale's own personal relationship with the Welsh language and the wider issues of communication.

He said he was "surprised and honoured" at being invited to take part.

Cale, born in Garnant, south Wales, went on to work with the likes of The Stooges, Terry Riley, Brian Eno, Happy Mondays, Modern Lovers, Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals and Patti Smith.

It offers an occasion to address certain pernicious issues in my background that had lain dormant for so long
John Cale

He is best known for founding the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed after moving to New York in 1963.

"As surprised and honoured as I was to be asked to contribute to the Welsh presentation at the Venice Biennale of Art 2009, it also was a challenge that I eagerly accepted," Cale said.

"It offers an occasion to address certain pernicious issues in my background that had lain dormant for so long.

"There are certain experiences uniquely suited to the exorcism of mixed media and I am grateful for this opportunity to address them."


Cale's work will be exhibited at the Capannone space at the Ex-Birreria, the old brewery building on the island of Giudecca and home to Wales' three previous presentations at the Biennale.

Bruce Haines, curator for Wales at Venice 2009, said: "John Cale has demonstrated a focused athleticism in his practice since he started working in the mid-1960s.

"While commercial success has not figured greatly in his career, Cale's work is consistently admired and acknowledged as having a significant influence and inspiration on many artists internationally."

Alun Ffred Jones, minister for heritage for the Welsh Assembly Government, said: "John Cale is a 'bard' in the widest sense - an artistic craftsman whose work is firmly rooted in Wales' cultural history, and it will be exciting to see how this manifests itself on such an important international platform."

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