May 2, 2019 - Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Iris Kensmil and Remy Jungerman : The Measurement of Presence
May 2, 2019

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Iris Kensmil, The New Utopia Begins Here: Claudia Jones, 2018. Oil on canvas, 155 x 115 cm. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. Remy Jungerman, Horizontal Obeah GEENGESITONU (detail), 2018. Painted wood, cotton textile, kaolin, yarn and nails, 285 x 90 x 30 cm. Photo: Gerrit Schreurs

Iris Kensmil and Remy Jungerman
The Measurement of Presence
Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
May 11–November 24, 2019

Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Giardini
Venice
Italy

www.venicebiennale.nl
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Preview: May 8-10, 2019
Official opening Dutch Pavilion: May 8, 12pm

Curated by Benno Tempel
Commissioned by Mondriaan Fund

Remy Jungerman and Iris Kensmil are representing the Netherlands at the 58th Venice Biennale. The Measurement of Presence brings together influences from different backgrounds. Jungerman and Kensmil combine the inspiration they draw from 20th-century modernism, particularly Mondrian and De Stijl, the Russian avant-garde and artist stanley brouwn, with elements of other traditions and perspectives.

Iris Kensmil depicts in her work an inclusive history from a Black feminist perspective. She honours Black authors, philosophers, activists and musicians, and, in general, the Black counter-movement that is an undeniable part of modernity. She connects the utopian thinking of modernism with Black female intellectuals whose work offers its own perspective on modernity and the future.

In collaboration with The Black Archives, Kensmil researched Black female utopians, focusing mainly on the Caribbean, the US, and Europe. This research resulted in eight portraits placed in two installations: The New Utopia Begins Here #1 and #2. In a third installation, Beyond the Burden of Representation, Kensmil reflects on the position of a number of artists who take a clear position to protect their authenticity and the interpretation of their work, such as stanley brouwn.

In his work, Remy Jungerman brings together motifs from Africa, from Maroon culture and from 20th century modernism. He is interested in the path travelled by patterns and motifs. Jungerman will create two large-scale installations: Promise IV and Visiting Deities, in which he intends to bring together the strength of the forefathers of the greater Dutch world—ancestors from the Netherlands, Suriname, Indonesia and elsewhere—with the aim of connecting the various cultures and entering into a future-oriented, open conversation.

During 2018 Jungerman lived in New York, a city with a dual meaning for him. It is the city where Piet Mondrian, an artist that is of great importance to Jungerman, found refuge in 1940. At the same time New York is the place where in 1674 the Dutch traded Suriname with the British, and Suriname became a Dutch colony. For Jungerman, living in this city in preparation for the Biennale gave him the perfect setting in which to think about the subject of measurement and globalization.

Rietveld Pavilion
An important part of the concept is the pavilion, designed by architect Gerrit Rietveld in 1954. The features of this building—open space, light, modular dimensions—have been adopted in the exhibition installation. The architect wished to create a space where people could meet. The works by Jungerman and Kensmil will emphasize this human element of coming together, sharing and experiencing.

The Giardini largely reflects the geopolitical relations of the 20th century. Originally, the pavilions were intended as national showcases. This view underwent a transformation in the 20th century and made way for unconditional faith in what one saw as the universal values of modernism. Today it is clear that both these views have had their day. The permanent flows of people and objects break boundaries and produce new identities outside and separate from nation states. Places and societies are becoming ever more interconnected in our globalized world. As a result, we risk losing the specific. In The Measurement of Presence Jungerman and Kensmil reflect on these developments.

Publication
An English-language catalogue will be published by Hannibal Publishers in cooperation with the Mondriaan Fund to mark the exhibition. Authors: Jessica de Abreu, Nick Aikens, Jelle Bouwhuis, Paul Goodwin, Charl Landvreugd, Willem de Rooij, Greg Tate, Benno Tempel, Allison K. Young.

Mondriaan Fund
The Measurement of Presence is commissioned by the Mondriaan Fund, the public fund for visual arts and cultural heritage. For further information and images, please visit: www.venicebiennale.nl

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