The Venice Questionnaire #10: Esther Lu

May 23, 2013 8:25PM

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published over the coming days. We spoke to Esther Lu, who has curated This Is Not A Taiwanese Pavilion, with work by Bernd Behr, Chia-Wei Hsu and Kateřina Šedá with collective Batežo Mikilu. The pavilion is at Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello 4209, San Marco

What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?

My project, This is not a Taiwan Pavilion, attempts to engage audience’s imagination on a dialectic process to contemplate on two paradoxes: “strangers” and “us”, and the one suggested by the title to enact a new process of subjectification. Questions around memory, identity, historiography and perception are unfolded by three art projects by Bernd Behr, Chia-Wei Hsu and Kateřina Šedá+Batežo Mikilu. This exhibition serves as a form of agency that creates multiple narratives of the here and now, and shares concerns for coexistence by exposing various contemporary mechanism of ideology making.

Are you approaching the show in a different way to how you would with a ‘normal’ exhibition?

Some specific parameters are considered in my curatorial approach. First, the very context of this exhibition is called as the point of departure to reflect the problematic of its existence and presentation in the Venice Biennale. By shaping a stranger from within via its title, it creates a narrative turn in its own history. Second, it’s my first time to make an exhibition title not as a theme, but rather a speech act that corresponds to three art projects in three ways. It creates an ambiguous spacetime to present Behr’s Chronotopia. It serves as an aesthetic reference shared by Hsu’s Marshal Tie Jia, in which he employs green screen filming technique to expose the structure of narratives. This title also acts to unfold the narratives of the exhibition context, as in my hometown, most people regard it as the Taiwan Pavilion. Then, it also composes a mirror relation to Šedá’s project This is not a Czech Pavilion, which begins with a topological approach to vary and connect perceptions and relations.

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Chia-Wei Hus, Marshal Tie Jia (production still), 2013. Courtesy the artist.