The Venice Questionnaire #24: Susanne Gaensheimer

May 24, 2013 8:19PM

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which are being published daily in May, in the run up to the Biennale opening. Susanne Gaensheimer is curator of the German pavilion which will be held at the Pavilion of France at Giardini.

What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?

After having worked with Christoph Schlingensief in 2011, this time I invited four international artists from different countries: Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, Dayanita Singh. They all have been working in Germany for many years, but more importantly their works share a critical reconsideration of cultural and social self-conception in a globalized world. Both everyday life and the cultural landscape of Germany are determined by different religions, economies, and political approaches. This defines our everyday and leads to mutual enrichment as well as to confrontation. At the same time it is evident that our society can no longer function without dialog, collaboration and the addressing of different philosophies and actual realities. For me, working together with a group of artists from different countries for the Venice Biennale is also a logical continuation of my work with Christoph Schlingensief. The artists whom I invited and their works are representative of a number of issues resulting from the convergence of diverse ideologies and conceptions of life, which impact us most immediately today. In the context of the Venice-project it is important to me that these artists manage to expand our perspectives and give us access to the view of the ‚other’, sometimes in an uncomfortable way. Although they develop their works out of specific, local contexts, they establish a kind of universal visual language by integrating their individual experiences of internationality. And this, I believe, is also one possible representation of a Germany that I am interested in.”

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

"Yes, absolutely, as said for me the tasks here in Venice is peculiar to Venice and Venice only. The question of how one can possibly represent a country is one that, as far as I know, is only relevant here in Venice.

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Portrait of Susanne by Mauricio Guillén.