October 9, 2018 - Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Remy Jungerman and Iris Kensmil: The Measurement of Presence
October 9, 2018

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Left: Remy Jungerman, FODU. HOLDER, 2015 and INITIANDS, 2015. Right: Iris Kensmil, Rhythm of Dutch spoken Words, 2015. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij.

Remy Jungerman and Iris Kensmil
The Measurement of Presence
May 11–November 24, 2019

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Giardini della Biennale


Preview: 8-10 May 2019

Curated by: Benno Tempel
Commissioned by: the Mondriaan Fund

Work of visual artists Remy Jungerman (1959) and Iris Kensmil (1970), brought together by Benno Tempel for a joint presentation, has been selected as the Dutch contribution to the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale, that is to take place in 2019.

The concept for The Measurement of Presence was prompted by a reflection on the history of the biennale, the location, discussions with the artists, and the current discourse. Nowadays, the permanent flow of people and artefacts break boundaries and produce new identities outside and separate from nation states. Places and societies are becoming ever more interconnected in our globalised world. But, on the whole, globalisation also causes alignment, and imposes prevailing principles. As a result, we risk losing the specific. The Measurement of Presence will be a post-national presentation that reassesses and debunks these notions and mechanisms.

Jungerman and Kensmil explore traditions and the past, bringing them into contact with the present. Their transnational attitude brings together influences from different backgrounds. In their work they combine motives drawn from 20th century modernism and the avant-garde with elements of other traditions and positions. In so doing, they size up the world, registering and defining their own presence relative to others and the world. The views of Jungerman and Kensmil are enriching examples of our transnational culture. By doing so, the artists are measuring the possibilities of shifting.

In Jungerman’s work patterns and motifs from Africa, the Maroon tribe and 20th century modernism merge with each other. Jungerman is interested in the journey of patterns, dessins and forms. By letting these journeys from different directions and times come together, condensation of time plays an important role in his installations.

Kensmil describes her work as painting memories, by which she means that she is giving a stature to the history of people of colour, neglected until recently. She introduces us to Black female authors, philosophers, activists and musicians. By adding ideas from the past to our current views, she expands our consciousness, which can lead to change.

Presence is needed to make change possible. This exhibition will force us to reassess our distance towards artists, history, and other people. Jungerman and Kensmil will measure the potential for change, not as scientists but as artists. They will explore how the presence and visibility of spirit and history are needed for existence.

The architecture of the Pavilion, built by Rietveld, will play an important role in the design of this exhibition that will not include any architectural intervention. Curator Tempel wants the Pavilion to function as a meeting point where people reflect on the present and the past.

The jury was made up of Carlos Amorales (artist and participant in the Dutch Pavilion in 2003 and solo participant in the Mexican Pavilion in 2017), Zippora Elders (freelance curator and artistic director of Kunstfort Vijfhuizen), Xander Karskens (artistic director of the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen and curator of the Finnish Pavilion in 2017), Mirjam Westen (curator of contemporary art in Museum Arnhem and part of the jury in 2017) and Birgit Donker (director of the Mondriaan Fund) as chair without voting rights.

The Mondriaan Fund, a publicly financed fund for visual arts and cultural heritage, is responsible for the Dutch entry to the Venice Biennale. For the 58th edition the Mondriaan Fund issued an open call to curators and artists, who were asked to produce a plan in keeping with a State event.

For further information and images: 
The Mondriaan Fund, Caroline Soons: T +31 (0) 20 523 15 23 / c.soons [​at​] mondriaanfonds.nl
For images please visit www.venicebiennale.nl

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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The Measurement of Presence
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