55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia – Iraq Pavilion


Welcome to Iraq
Abdul Raheem Yassir, Akeel Khreef, Ali Samiaa, Bassim Al-Shaker, Cheeman Ismaeel, Furat al Jamil, Hareth Alhomaam, Jamal Penjweny, Kadhim Nwir, WAMI (Yaseen Wami, Hashim Taeeh)
Commissioner: Tamara Chalabi. Deputy Commissioner: Vittorio Urbani. Curator: Jonathan Watkins. Venue: Ca’ Dandolo, San Polo 2879, San Tomà

The Pavilion of Iraq at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia in 2013 will host a group exhibition curated by Jonathan Watkins comprising works by eleven contemporary Iraqi artists resident in Iraq. Working across a wide range of media, including photography, drawing, painting, video, installation, sculpture, and textiles, they represent two generations of artists from across the country and were selected after many studio visits, other meetings and much careful thinking.

The exhibition will be held at Ca’ Dandolo, a 16th century building that has not been used as a pavilion before during a Venice Biennale. It will insinuate Iraq into this first floor apartment, creating a salon atmosphere and interactive space where visitors can sit, read and learn about Iraqi culture and drink tea.

Blog: http://www.theiraqpavilion.com/blog/

55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia – Zsolt ASZTALOS. Fired but unexploded. Hungarian Pavilion


Fired but unexploded
Zsolt Asztalos
Commissioner: Gábor Gulyás. Curator: Gabriella Uhl. Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

About the open competition
The national commissioner announced the competition for an exhibit at the Hungarian pavilion of
the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, 2013 in the autumn of 2012. From an unprecedentedly high number of applications, the eight-strong jury chose Zsolt Asztalos’s Fired but unexploded (curator: Gabriella Uhl) as the exhibit to be presented at the national pavilion.
Consistently explored and extremely minimalist, but also lyrical and memorable as a result, Zsolt
Asztalos’s project was found by the jury to be connected to both the Hungarian and the international contexts. Since the proposed exhibit represents its concerns, both formal and philosophical, in a variety of manners, it makes its subject accessible for the general public of the Biennale.
“Luckily found since World War One, the various bombs, projectiles and grenades (which have an
absurd visual appeal like so many designer objects) were rendered useless by some ‘error,’ making them deny their own fate, as it were,” wrote the jurors. “As a result, they ‘saved’ people’s lives, while their presence, their very existence, created a state of continuous threat, a condition of tension.”
Compact, metaphorical and relying on a broad horizon of thought, the installation at the Hungarian pavilion of the Venice Biennale will touch on both the historical traumas of the 20th century, and the immediate results of tension in contemporary Hungarian and European society.

About the concept
grace – terror – (in) memory (of)
Each bomb has its own story. Which is essentially one of two kinds. Bombs may explode and thus
fulfil their role as objects made specifically for the purpose of destruction, and then enter history
books and the personal histories that families maintain.
Zsolt Asztalos in his turn looks into another possible story in the installation he has created for the 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice: the story of the malfunctioning device which stays with us, generating, interpreting and symbolizing conflicts among humans. In what semantic fields can these destructive objects, these relics of wars waged and raging, these latent carriers of a constant threat, be interpreted, asks Asztalos. His “found objects” are multiple representations of conflict situations, open to simultaneous interpretations on personal, local, regional and global levels.
An unexploded bomb makes a statement. It thinks. Motionless. Mathematically. The process frozen by chance devours time. They are manifestations of a state of grace. The machine that was created to destroy man left its original function, and went on (may go on) to write the history of humanity on its own, creating personal myths and narratives which may make the inexplicable, if not interpretable, at least relatable. It is with its own disorders that technicized society creates an opportunity for mystery to work—while denying its very existence. Their fault or “unnatural” behaviour extends the temporal dimensions of the conflicts, even reveal them as timeless. The theoretical approaches, as well as the research and installation praxes of the visual arts have been instrumental in processing the brutal traumas of the late 20th and 21th centuries. It shows that bloody genocides occur in the name and shadow of false slogans about humanism. They were dropped but did not explode. What has become of them? How did they determine the future, our future? These are the questions that Asztalos’s installation makes us ponder on, rigorously, in all their ramifications.
About the catalogue
The texts selected for the catalogue of the exhibit, published separately in English and Hungarian,
serve to offer an interdisciplinary approach to the issues raised by the installation, involving both
the humanities and the natural sciences. Csaba Horváth, a bomb disposal expert, offers a history of  the technology; mathematician László Mérő introduces the reader to the mathematical definition of chance; and poet and Benedictine monk Mátyás Varga provides an overview of the Christian teachings on grace. We can learn more about the artist and the installation from the study of the curator,
Gabriella Uhl. The personal reflections of the national commissioner, Gábor Gulyás can be read in
the introduction of the volume.
About the installation
The installation comprises twenty videos, each presenting an unexploded projectile found in Hungary.
The vision of the destructive weapons, which hover in a homogeneous, indefinite space, is complemented with the sounds of the world around them, and thus the films open the way to new
The inscription of the past into the future takes place in a group of works that use different media,
including videos of unexploded bombs which resemble stills but for their fine movements,
and a video that employs a different perspective (panorama projection). The latter, 9-minute film
shows the present-day history or everyday functioning of the places where the unexploded bombs were once found. Built on places where danger is a physical reality, the present has transposed the unexpressed tensions and conflicts into the people who live there.
The website at http://www.fired-but-unxeploded is an integral part of the installation: it not only provides further information on the exhibition, but also aims to create a worldwide map of conflicts with its interactive interface.
An application available for all smartphone platforms will guide visitors through the exhibition and will provide more information for those who want to further immerse themselves.
Fine artist lives in Budapest

55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Jeremy Deller – British Pavilion


Jeremy Deller
Commissioner: Andrea Rose. Curator: Emma Gifford-Mead. Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

Jeremy Deller’s way of working as artist, orchestrator, filmmaker, curator and cultural archivist is both highly influential and often collaborative. People often take centre stage in Deller’s practice and, over the last two decades, the Turner Prize-winning artist has collaborated with groups as diverse as former miners, bat behavioural experts, Depeche Mode fans and numerous musicians. Deller has an infectious interest in the creativity of others, overturning cultural hierarchies and staging opportunities for interaction with characteristic wit and clarity.

The British Council has commissioned artists to represent Britainat the Venice Biennale, celebrating the best of British art since 1938 and Deller is the 19th artist to be selected for a solo presentation. The British Council’s commission follows on from two key projects last year: Deller’s mid-career retrospective, Joy In People, which opened at the Hayward and is currently touring the US, and Sacrilege (2012), his life-size inflatable version of Stonehenge which toured around the UK during the summer.

“Wry, and very light on his feet, Deller has a great ability to draw together all sorts of people and communities and orchestrate them into unexpected patterns. He’s a sort of pied piper of popular culture.”Andrea Rose, Commissioner, British Pavilion.

Biography and selected exhibitions

Jeremy Deller (b. 1966, London; lives London) studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute and at SussexUniversity. After meeting Andy Warhol in 1986 he spent two weeks at the Factory in New York. He began making artworks in the early 1990s, often showing them outside of conventional galleries. In 1993, while his parents were on holiday, he secretly used the family home for an exhibition titled Open Bedroom.

Four years later he produced the musical performance Acid Brass with the Williams-Fairey Band, and began making art in collaboration with other people. Deller staged The Battle of Orgreave in 2001, commissioned by Artangel and Channel 4, directed by Mike Figgis, a re-enactment which brought together around 1000 veteran miners and members of historical societies to restage the 1984 clash between miners and police at Orgreave, Yorkshire. In 2004, Deller won the Turner Prize for Memory Bucket (2003), a documentary about Texas.

He has since made a number of documentaries on subjects ranging from exotic wrestler Adrian Street to die-hard international fans of the band Depeche Mode.

In 2009 Deller undertook a road trip across the US from New York to Los Angeles along with an Iraqi citizen and a US war veteran, towing a car destroyed in a bomb attack in Baghdad. The project, It Is What It Is, was presented at the New Museum, New York; the car is now part of the Imperial War Museum’s Collection. In the same year he staged Procession, inManchester, involving participants, commissioned floats, choreographed music and performances creating an odd and celebratory spectacle.

Deller has exhibited widely internationally and selected monographic exhibitions include: Unconvention (1999, Centre for Visual Arts, Cardiff), After the Goldrush (2002, Wattis Institute, San Francisco), Folk Archive with Alan Kane (2004, Centre Pompidou, Paris and Barbican Art Gallery, London), Jeremy Deller (2005, Kunstverein, Munich), From One Revolution to Another (2008, Palais de Tokyo, Paris), It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq (2009, New Museum, NY, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), Processions (2009, Cornerhouse, Manchester) and Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery which is currently touring in the US. www.jeremydeller.org

Jeremy Deller is represented in the UK by The Modern Institute, Glasgow, Art: Concept,Parisand internationally by Gavin Brown’s enterprise,New York.

55th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia – Kamikaze Loggia – Georgian Pavilion


Bouillon Group, Thea Djordjadze, Nikoloz Lutidze, Gela Patashuri with Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin, Gio Sumbadze

Commissioner: Marine Mizandari, First Deputy Minister of Culture of Georgia
Curator: Joanna Warsza

Performances and Events during the Preview Days

The Pavilion of Georgia at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia will be a parasitic extension to an old building in the Arsenale. This informal structure called a “kamikaze loggia”—characteristic of Tbilisi—will be designed by the artist Gio Sumbadze, who is a researcher of the typology of these architectural additions. Vernacular extensions of modernist buildings have been created since the 1990s as an organic response to the new, “lawless” times after the fall of the Soviet Union. They increase the living space and are usually used as terraces, extra rooms, open refrigerators, or—as in Sumbadze’s case— an artist studio. It is said that a Russian journalist named them “kamikaze”, drawing a parallel between the romantic and suicidal character of such an endeavour and the typical ending of most Georgian family names “-adze”. This architecture also refers back to the local palimpsestic building technique, which since the Middle Ages has allowed new houses to be built on top of existing ones on the steep slopes of the Caucasus Mountains thus not monumentalising the past but expanding on it for the future.

This year the Pavilion of Georgia will take the form of a kamikaze loggia hosting an exhibition of
the Bouillon Group, Thea Djordjadze, Nikoloz Lutidze, Gela Patashuri with Ei Arakawa and
Sergei Tcherepnin, and Gio Sumbadze. The exhibition looks at the creation of such informal
architecture, a manifestation of the refusal of dominant structures, in order to incorporate
provisional liberty, local self-determination and contemporary appropriation of the infrastructural legacy of Soviet master plans.

The exhibition aims at presenting the extraordinary range of informality, bottom-up solutions and the concept of self-organization in Georgian art and architecture. Looking at local examples of self-initiated environments—e. g. kamikaze loggias, “euroremonts”, “beautifications” or other modifications of the Soviet heritage—the project will seek to examine their anticipatory and often progressive potential.

It will cast a critical look at the social, political and ideological discourses of the last twenty years in Georgia — thus introducing an artistic scene of a country that sometimes is described as “Italy gone Marxist”.

During the preview days there will be daily performances by Bouillon Group, Nikoloz Lutidze,
and Gela Patashuri with Ei Arakawa and Sergei Tcherepnin.
Artistic Advisor: Nana Kipiani
Assistant curator: Sandra Teitge
Project Managers: Gvantsa Turmanidze with Nino Bezarashvili and Anna Asatiani
Production + architecture: M+B Studio SRL

Supported and funded by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia.


55th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia – Mladen Miljanović – Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion


The Garden of Delights
Mladen Miljanovic
Commissioners/Curators: Sarita Vujkovic, Irfan Hošic.
Venue: Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3198

The artist Mladen Miljanovic, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 55th International ArtExhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, will present a solo exhibition of new works titled “The Garden of Delights” at Palazzo Malipiero in Venice from June 1 to November 24, 2013. It is after a ten-­year intermission that Bosnia-­Herzegovina will participate again in the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Its attendance in the 55th biennial event in Venice this year bears the heavy load of a new beginning, one that is expected to serve as a precedent for its national participation in the future. The initial impetus came from the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska, which proposed a model intended to overcome the long-­standing impasse at the state level. The participation model proposed by the initiating institution has been approved by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in agreement with the relevant ministries of the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political disagreements continually made it impossible for local artists and projects to exhibit in this prestigious internal political and economic impediments it has to encounter. And its art, although practically imperceptible from outside the country, abounds in both people and events.

The Garden of Delights

In that sense, the selected project, The Garden of Delights, is a highly socially engaged work of art, which seeks to create effects from multiple historical perspectives, and with strong connotations drawing on the socio-political, ethical, economic and cultural context of the Eastern European society, which the artists come from. The project ensemble consists of three interconnected smaller ensembles, a marble triptych, a video clip and an installation, and the artist, as its creator, posits himself as an activist whose practice and production impose themeselves as a model in a highly specific way, making possible engagement originating in the local community, i.e. environment. His knowledge of the global world, up-to-the-minute and relevant, filtered through the local context, creates a new, clear artistic insight, which is a significant determinant of the entire ensemble. The idea behind the complete project of The Garden of Delights is that of people’s unbridled desires, of personal truths underneath the collective absurdity of the contemporaneity, as perceived across Bosnia. The conceptual framework of the project is reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous Renaissance triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1500), and it is firmly rooted in today’s physical world of common people’s various experiences, as the most authentic and the most banal realities of post-transition society. Mystical and provocative even for today’s interpreters, the triptych by Hieronymus Bosch was the initial inspiration for the work of Mladen Miljanović; rather complex and materialised in a way which is, by comparison with contemporary art techniques, quite non-standard and atypical, his ensemble consists of drawings engraved on marble slabs, a stonework tradition commonly used in tombstone decoration in the Balkans.

For this work he said:

—The work emulates manual tombstone engraving, which I did before enrolling in the Academy of Arts.

—The installation contains more than 100 tombstone motifs found and collected in the Central Balkans.

—People mainly choose these motifs as illustrations of their indulgences and because they wish to see them immortalised by means of the real.

—The emergence of this manner of representation coincided with the rise of the kitsch and turbo-folk culture in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

—The scenery as shown in the painting The Garden of Earthly Delights by the Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch provided the foundation for this work.

—The work is the outcome of a five-hundred-year-long debate and revises the notion of pleasure and its different contemporary representations as a stereotypical and pessimist vision of society.

—The form of the image of a personal indulgence becomes an expression of the collective absurd and disharmony.

In this case, the graveyard is an area storing an encyclopaedia of images of individual lives joined into a garden of a collective eternity.

What awaits us in the future, what our reality is and how it is represented are the major issues found in this artificial post-communist paradise, in which art, according to Boris Groys, often appears innocent, insufficiently critical or radical, following the utopian logic of inclusion rather than the realist logic of exclusion, struggle and criticism. Spatial and temporal relations, their homogeneity and heterogeneity, are but formal aspects constituting the social particularities against which real life happens.

The inherent idea of afterlife representation as Miljanović sees it is conveyed using the ready-made aesthetics, borrowed from the mass media, the everyday and some popular aspects of life of Bosnian people. Their subversive sociological, ethnological and ritual characteristics are an image of the existent representations of a mass culture that has taken over post-transition society, reflecting the failure of its economy and privatisation, political paradoxes and intolerance, and the nontransparent nature of the new models of private ownership.

While realising his concept, Miljanović made a video to be used as an accompaniment to the exhibit, which he called Sweet Harmony of the Absurd and in which members of the Banja Luka Philharmonic simultaneously play their favourite pieces. The multiplicity of this melodious plurality, tinted with personal wishes, interests and lifestyles as found in society, reflects the heterogeneity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its cultural dynamics, at times synchronous and stimulating, at others crippling and disasterous to utter ruin. Sweet Harmony of the Absurd is an authentic representation of the ambivalent makeup of Bosnian and Herzegovinian society, marked by conflicting sentiments and attitudes. Integrated with The Garden of Delights, it rounds off Mladena Miljanović’s peculiar artistic discourse, strongly marked by an awareness of constant affirmation, according to which human creativity is best stimulated by desire.

An extensive exhibition catalog will present reproductions of many earlier works of Mladen Miljanovic and provide artist’s biography and professional texts.

55th International art exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. Berlinde De Bruyckere – Pavilion of Belgium at the Venice Biennale


Kreupelhout – Cripplewood
Berlinde De Bruyckere
Commissioner: Joke Schauvliege, Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Culture.
Curator: J. M. Coetzee. Deputy Curator: Philippe Van Cauteren. Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

As the commissioning authority for the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2013, Joke Schauvliege, the Flemish Minister of the Environment, Nature and Culture, has announced that Ghent-based artist Berlinde De Bruyckere will represent Belgium at the 118-year old international event. In her comments about this commission, The Minister cited De Bruyckere’s profound commitment to exploring universal issues of the human condition, as well as the relationship of her art to the great continuum of history. Over the past three decades, De Bruyckere has created a consistent body of work that is still evolving and has the power to transform her participation in the Biennale into a lasting international presence.

S.M.A.K., the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ghent, is organising the Belgian presentation at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which opens to the public
on 1 June 2013.

For the Belgian Pavilion in Venice, De Bruyckere has conceived a new site-specific installation that builds upon her existing oeuvre but derives its potency from connections to the historical context of Venice. She has invited acclaimed writer J.M. Coetzee, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature, to serve as curator and artistic collaborator. De Bruyckere and Coetzee have followed one another’s work for years. Coetzee stated, “I have long admired the work of Berlinde De Bruyckere. More importantly, I have been touched (aangeraak) by her work in ways that are often obscure to me. I would not wish it otherwise.

Her sculptures explore life and death – death in life, life in death, life before life, death before death – in the most intimate and most disturbing way. They bring illumination, but the illumination is as dark as it is profound”.

De Bruyckere has said that she sees in Coetzee “a kindred spirit” and senses in his work the all-devouring need to write about what she also feels in creating her sculptures.

Coetzee will not perform the traditional task of an artistic curator, but will act as a source of inspiration and a partner in dialogue for De Bruyckere. “To discuss plans and projects with her, and if the gods are on our side, to guide and be guided by her in her explorations,” Coetzee explained. This unique collaboration in Venice is a logical extension of a joint project from 2012, when De Bruyckere and Coetzee published the book ‘Allen Vlees (All Flesh)’, combining her images with his writings. The artist selected key passages from Coetzee’s books and arranged them alongside photos of details from her sculptures. In this way, words are juxtaposed with images to suggest two parallel worlds that enrich but do not overtly illustrate each other.

In addition to J.M. Coetzee, Berlinde De Bruyckere invited Philippe Van Cauteren, S.M.A.K. artistic director since 2006, to serve as the Belgian Pavilion co-curator. Under his directorship the museum has held major monographic exhibitions by Lois Weinberger, Kendell Geers, Paul McCarthy, Mark Manders, Dara Birnbaum, Jorge Macchi, Nedko Solakov, Joachim Koester, as well as artistic projects in public space like TRACK. Van Cauteren is currently organising a retrospective of the work of Berlinde De Bruyckere, which will be shown at S.M.A.K. in 2014 and at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (Netherlands).

About the Artist

Berlinde De Bruyckere (Ghent, 1964) makes her sculptures in a personal, highly physical and expressive visual idiom. She delves deep into man’s omnipresent needs and fears. Elements such as vulnerability, mortality and solitude run through her oeuvre. She takes inspiration from literature and film history, but her sculptural work also displays a great affinity for such old masters as Lucas Cranach and Antonello da Messina. As Ovid wrote in his Metamorphoses, ‘My mind leads me to speak of figures changed into new bodies’. This is a challenge that Berlinde De Bruyckere has also taken up. In her work, mutilation and suspected violence assume extreme forms; they will always be related to the possibility of transfiguration and growth.

Berlinde De Bruyckere regularly exhibits in major museums and institutions in Belgium and abroad. Her recent exhibitions include ‘Philippe Vandenberg & Berlinde De Bruyckere. Innocence is precisely: never to avoid the worst’, De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg (Netherlands) in 2012; ‘The Wound’, Arter, Istanbul (Turkey) in 2012; ‘We are all Flesh’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (Australia) in 2012; ‘Mysterium Leib. Berlinde De Bruyckere im Dialog mit Cranach und Pasolini’, which opened at Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle (Germany) and travelled to Kunstmuseum Bern,
Switzerland in 2011; and a solo exhibition at (DHC / ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada in 2011. De Bruyckere’s exhibition, ‘In the Flesh’ is currently on view at Kunsthaus Graz and the St Dominikus Chapel in Graz (Austria).

Belgian Pavilion Catalogue

The official catalogue of the 2013 Belgian Pavilion will be published by Mercatorfonds. As with her previous publications, Berlinde De Bruyckere will create an artist’s book rather than a traditional exhibition catalogue. It will include essays by J.M. Coetzee; Philippe Van Cauteren; Herman Parret, Professor Emeritus at the Higher Institute of Philosophy at Leuven University (Belgium); and Berlinde De Bruyckere. Photographs will be included by Mirjam Devriendt.

55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Lee Kit – Hong Kong Pavilion at the Venice Biennale


Lee Kit
‘You (you).’

Castello 2126, Campo della Tana

30122 Venice, Italy
(Opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)

Curated by Lars Nittve with Yung Ma, M+

Co-presented by M+, Museum for Visual Culture, West Kowloon Cultural District, and Hong Kong Arts Development Council

M+, Museum for Visual Culture, West Kowloon Cultural District, and Hong Kong Arts Development Council present ‘You (you).’ by Lee Kit, Collateral Event of the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.  Curated by Lars Nittve with Yung Ma of M+, ‘You (you).’ is a continuation of Lee’s exploration into the quotidian realm of the everyday. Comprised entirely of new commissions, the exhibition is formulated as a series of spatial reconfigurations that blend together and alternate between concealment and revelation.

Conceived through recollections of personal and collective moments, ‘You (you).’ takes the universal yet non-existing entity alluded to in its title as a point of departure, gazing at the notion of absence to reflect on the construction of places, memories and time. Lee distils and translates these fleeting moments into forms of visual articulation, shedding light on their inherent ‘endlessness’ which transcends our perception of time.

‘You (you).’ operates within the same framework as Lee’s recent sparse yet intimate installations, incorporating moving image, performance, ready-made objects, found images and lighting to form and suggest traces of immaterialised dialogues and relationships. The various elements within these installations have been meticulously arranged to recall the qualities of painterly composition. The exhibition also further propels Lee’s approach of employing repetitive gestures, mundane objects and other ephemeral materials, such as sound, to function as emotive and sensory triggers, affording viewers the possibility of evoking the textures of both real and imagined memories.

A fully illustrated bi-lingual (Chinese and English) catalogue published by M+ will accompany the exhibition, with contributions from Lee Kit, Yung Ma, Lars Nittve, Pauline J. Yao and Jean Yen Ruo Jin, exploring the intricate layers of Lee’s artistic vision from various perspectives.

Lee Kit was born 1978 in Hong Kong, currently lives and works in Hong Kong and Taipei. His recent solo and group exhibitions include ‘Every breath you take.’ at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai (2012), What should I do to live in your life? at the Sharjah Art Foundation in Sharjah (2012), The Ungovernables at the New Museum in New York (2012) and ‘Henry (Have you ever been this low?)’ at Western Front in Vancouver (2011).


55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Mark Manders – Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale







Mark Manders
Room with Broken Sentence

Mark Manders (b. 1968) is representing the Netherlands at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The Dutch pavilion showcases Room with Broken Sentence.
The exhibition covers a 23-year span of Manders’ activity, combining existing installations with a spectacular four-meter-high monumental new work.

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.

Curator: Lorenzo Benedetti

Commissioner: Mondriaan Fund