German Pavilion at the French Pavilion, Giardini, Venice, Italy

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German Pavilion: 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia
Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, Dayanita Singh
Curated by Susanne Gaensheimer, Director of MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main
1 June - 24 November 2013
Press Releases

In 2013 Gaensheimer carries forward the 2011 German Pavilion’s critical investigation of the significance of traditional forms of national representation in the national pavilions at the Venice Biennale. Contemporary artistic production in Germany, as elsewhere, is characterized by multilayered forms of cooperation between artists from all over the world and by international intellectual and cultural exchange. Therefore, at the Venice Biennale, Germany will not be represented as a hermetic national unit but as an active participant in a complex, worldwide constellation. For this reason Gaensheimer has invited four international artists from different countries:

Ai Weiwei
Romuald Karmakar
Santu Mofokeng
Dayanita Singh

These artists are represented in major museums and collections throughout the world and have taken part in important international, large-scale exhibitions and film festivals. Their works, exhibitions, publications, and films are part of the international artistic discourse and have in part determined this discourse. In addition, all four artists are also associated with the German art scene in a particular way. Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng and Dayanita Singh have been working in Germany for many years, in close cooperation with German institutions, publishing houses, and collections. Their works share a critical reconsideration of the artists’ individual respective realities and offer important trajectories for reflecting on cultural and social self-conception in a globalized world. In the process the artists use a large range of media, including photography and film in addition to sculpture and installation.

Exchange between German and French Pavilions

Christine Macel, curator of the French pavilion and Chief Curator of the Musée National d’Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Anri Sala, the artist representing France, as well as Susanne Gaensheimer, the curator of the German pavilion and Director of the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main, and the artists whom she has invited, Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh, have decided to exchange the German and French Pavilions for the 55th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale Venezia.

At the beginning of this year the foreign ministers of France and Germany suggested exchanging the two countries’ pavilions for the 55th International Art Exhibition. This idea has been repeatedly discussed over the past ten years, and in 2012 the curators and the artists decided to jointly discuss the possibility. After very constructive conversations and numerous tours of each pavilion in Venice, all parties agreed to the suggestion.

A fundamental consideration was the current working reality of the art world, in which international cooperation and communication has become a matter of course’an art world in which the dialogue between cultural spheres has much greater influence than the impermeability of national borders. These transnational everyday realities demonstrate to what extent the contemporary art world gathers European cultures together in a large, international network. The curators and the artists feel indebted to the notion of a shared European culture within the larger framework of the global cultural community.

The German contribution is commissioned by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany and realized in cooperation with the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa).

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