Pavilion of Netherlands: 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia
Mark Manders: Room with Broken Sentence
1 June - 24 November 2013
From the Press Release
Mark Manders (1968) is representing the Netherlands at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia. The Dutch pavilion showcases Room with Broken Sentence, curated by Lorenzo Benedetti (1972). The exhibition covers a 23 year span of Manders’ activity, combining existing installations with a monumental 4 metre high new work.
The larger installations developed specifically for the Rietveld pavilion reveals significant new aspects of the artist’s formal and conceptual vocabulary. Turning his bank on the frenetic consumerist dynamics of today’s cultural system, Manders withdraws into sculptures that seem to have always been there. All work combines 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. In an interview Manders stated: ‘I don’t often show my work in the public domain, rather in museums where people choose to go to see art. But since 1991 I have always tested a work that I’ve just finished in the supermarket. I just imagine a new work there and I check if it can survive where it doesn’t have the label of an artwork. It is just a thing that someone places in a supermarket. Now I am sure that all my works can stand in that environment.’ There is a satellite exhibition in a Venetian supermarket proving this aspect of his work.
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, have they been 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 the direct confrontation with Rietveld, whose Modernist pavilion. 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 own age and create a parallel, autonomous one of his own.
Manders launched his career in 1986 with a work entitled 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, Berkley Art Museum, the Irish Museum 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.
Lorenzo Benedetti has been the director of the Art Centre De Vleeshal in Middelburg, The Netherlands since 2008, is internationally recognised for his inspired presentations. He studied Art history at La Sapienza in Rome and attended the Curatorial Training Program at de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam. He was curator in Marta Herford under the direction of Jan Hoet, and guest curator at La Kunsthalle Mulhouse. He is tutor at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and writes regularly for exhibition catalogues and art magazines.