The larger installations developed specially for the Rietveld pavilion reveal significant new aspects of the artist’s formal and conceptual vocabulary. Turning his back on the frenetic consumerist dynamics of today’s cultural system, Manders withdraws into sculptures that seem to have always been there. All works combine a certain mystery with tremendous visual appeal. Manders’ use of materials, in which nothing is what it seems (epoxy looks like clay, clay becomes bronze and bronze seems to be wood), enhances this enigmatic visual impact. Leaving the shelter of the ‘white cube,’ it infiltrates, blends into and seeks acknowledgement within a reality close to that of the general public.
2013 is a special year for the Netherlands at the Venice Biennale, as it celebrates both a 100th and a 60th anniversary. The Netherlands may have been present since the start of the Biennale, but only from 1913 onwards in their own exhibition space and since 1953 in the present pavilion designed by the great Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld. The selection of Mark Manders places him in direct confrontation with Rietveld, whose Modernist pavilion is one of the architectural jewels of the Giardini of the Biennale. The result will be a dialogue between two Dutchmen: a Modernist architect and an artist who, a child of his time, sets out to decipher the enigmatic temporal dimension of our age and create a parallel, autonomous one of his own.
Manders launched his career in 1986 with a work titled Self-Portrait as a Building: a floor plan of a building realised with pencils, pens and other writing implements. From this point onwards his art has revolved around the exploration of this inner building. He has had solo exhibitions at the Art Institute Chicago and the Renaissance Society in Chicago, Berkeley Art Museum, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Carillo Gil Museum of Art in Mexico City, and in Musée Carré d’Art in Nîmes amongst others. In 2010 Manders’ first American exhibition tour started in the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and travelled to the Aspen Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Commissioner: Mondriaan Fund