Anne Imhof will be the German pavilion’s artist at the 57th International Art Exhibition—
La Biennale di Venezia in 2017. Since May 2016, Imhof has worked on a spatially as well
as temporally expansive work conceived especially for the pavilion. Her oeuvre bridges the
divides between painting, sculpture, and installation as well as performance.
Gazes cross, but no communication ensues. They perceive others, but there is no recognition, no acknowledgment. Post-gender, individualized, peculiar and yet
stereotypical: such are the human figures in Anne Imhof’s paintings and scenarios. Noises, sounds, and compositions lend a rhythm to the spaces and bodies, synchronizing them in a dilated time loosely structured by narratives. The action is contingent; everything might be different at any moment. The movements fluctuate between the viscous mundanity of everyday life and mysterious rituals, between schematic, remote-controlled procedures and individual malfunctions, between uniformity and punk. Aligned with the group, an aimless individuality persists. They may sing together, but their song is of the I.
On mats and sleeping bags, amid punching bags, baseball bats, and razors, the performers
populate the training camp of capitalized bodies and optimized life. Strained to the point of bursting or gone limp, their regimented and fragile bodies appear as a material molded by pervasive yet invisible structures of power. Media representation is innate to these biotechno bodies: they seem forever on the verge of transformation into pictures ready for consumption; they aspire to become images, digital commodities.
Anne Imhof confronts the brutality of our time with a hard realism. Her scenarios visualize
the constitution of the body in the demarcation of material and discursive, of technological,
socioeconomic, and pharmaceutical boundaries. Imhof thus reveals the space between body and reality, the space where our personality comes into being.
Commissioner: Susanne Pfeffer
Anne Imhof (b. 1978) graduated from the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in 2012. Imhof was awarded the Preis der Nationalgalerie in 2015 and went on to produce the opera Angst, which was presented in three acts at Kunsthalle Basel, the Museum Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the Biennale de Montréal in 2016. Her performance cycles Deal (2015), Rage
(2014), Aqua Leo (2013), and School of the Seven Bells (2012) were shown in solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2015), the Carré d’Art—Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes (2014), New Jerseyy, Basel, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main (2013), and elsewhere.
Her art has also been featured in international group exhibitions, including at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015), and the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2014). Anne Imhof was a visiting professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich in 2015. In 2013, she lived and worked in Paris on a fellowship from the Hessische Kulturstiftung.
Susanne Pfeffer (b. 1973) is an art historian and curator. At the Fridericianum in Kassel, which she has directed since June 2013, she has curated exhibitions including Inhuman (2015), nature after nature (2014), and Speculations on Anonymous Materials (2013) as well as retrospectives of the art of Tetsumi Kudo (2016), Marcel Broodthaers (2015), and Paul Sharits (2014). She curated the Swiss pavilion at the 56th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, presenting a solo exhibition of the work of Pamela Rosenkranz. She was previously chief curator of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin (2007–2012) and a curator and consultant at MoMA PS1 in New York. From 2004 until 2006, she was artistic director of Künstlerhaus Bremen.
The press conference and the opening of the German pavilion will be held on May 10, 2017. The 57th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia will open on May 13, 2017, and be on view until November 26, 2017.
The German contribution to the 57th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia is realized on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office and in cooperation with ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen/ an institute for international cultural relations).
Initial partner Partners
ifa Freunde des Deutschen
Pavillon / Biennale Venedig e.V.
Arend and Brigitte Oetker
Sylvia and Friedrich von Metzler