Monday, May 15, 2017

57 Venice Biennale – The Golden Lion – German Pavilion – Anne Imhof

Photo by Jacopo Salvi – courtesy La Biennale di Venezia
The 57 Venice Biennale
The Golden Lion
German Pavilion – Anne Imhof
Golden Lion for Best National Participation went to Germany for a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time. It pushes the spectator to a state of anxiety. An original response to the architecture of the pavilion, Anne Imhof’s work is also characterized by precise decisions about objects, images, bodies and sounds.
The Jury was chaired by Manuel J. Borja-Villel (Spain): Francesca Alfano Miglietti (Italy), Amy Cheng (Taiwan), Ntone Edjabe (Cameroon), and Mark Godfrey (Great Britain).

The German Pavilion
Faust – Anne Imhof
The contemporary biopolitical body is no longer a one-dimensional surface on which power, the law, control and punishment are inscribed.  Rather, it is a dense interior, a site for both life and political control exerted by means of exchange and communication mechanisms.”
Suzanne Pfeffer

Anne Imhof’s site specific disquieting German Pavilion was curated by Suzanne Pfeffer. Faust is both a 5 hour production and a 7 month long scenario comprised of performance dynamics, sculptural installations, painterly touches, and rigorously choreographed visual axes and movements that encompass the entire pavilion. Faust belongs to an unconditioned present, the essence of which is conveyed instantly to the audience.

 “Suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of various constructions of power and powerlessness, capriciousness and violence, resistance and freedom. Outside the territory of one’s own, dogs guard the house… The dog in the kennel, the dog and its master, the dog and its companion – these pairings are evidence of how cultural change has altered power relations. They are a symbol of the changing constructions of nature:  Where there used to be a dualism between nature and culture, the world now presents itself as a kennel.”

  “The heightened floor elevates bodies and modifies spatial proportions.  Next to us, above, us, there are the bodies of individuals, the bodies of the many.  The performers, elated and degraded, move across, below, and atop the pavilion.”


“The performers’ bodies are reduced to bare life.  They can be analyzed in terms of their sexual economy.   Masturbation as regression and resistance, as the death of sexuality and, at the same time, an image of sexuality served up exclusively for visual consumption.”


Yana Popravka and Andreas Dornbacht

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