From May 2015, the German Pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale will be transformed into a setting that focuses on the presence of images in contemporary life. The exhibition encourages its visitors to meditate on the material and political nature of images in the digital age, in a globalised world. With this emphasis in mind, the curator Florian Ebner issued an invitation to the artistsOlaf Nicolai, Hito Steyerl and Tobias Zielony, who live and work in Berlin, and the Cairo-based artist duo Jasmina Metwaly / Philip Rizk.
Olaf Nicolai is a sculptor, conceptual and media artist who grew up in the GDR, and eludes any form of stylistic labelling. Hito Steyerl has made an international name for herself as a filmmaker, video artist and controversial authoress on the concept of the documentary, whilst Tobias Zielony has gained his reputation in the field of broader, artistic-reflexive documentary photography. The joint work of the artistJasmina Metwaly and the author and filmmaker Philip Rizk brings an artistic position to the pavilion whose origins lie outside of the realms of the established western art market.
Starting out from four aspects and ideas – migrating images, participation of the actors, light as an elementary image carrier and the roof as a place of freedom – a contextual and formal force field will be established, from which this pavilion will derive its tension. Classical questions of representation – the balance of power between subject and object, the old asymmetry between photographer and model – will pose themselves in a new way in the light of the digital images. A contemporary understanding of the “photographic” element as a central position of documentary work is open for discussion. All works of art will be created especially for the German Pavilion, and shown there for the first time.
Like the contribution to the Art Biennale in 2013, the coming German Pavilion modifies the classical concept of the national pavilion, opening itself up to a global perspective as regards content.
- Olaf Nicolai , Faites le travail qu’accomplit le soleil, 2010, exhibition view, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Photo: © Uwe Walter, Berlin; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2014 Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin
- Tobias Zielony, Laser, 2014, Courtesy Tobias Zielony & KOW, Berlin