When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013

When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013

Fondazione Prada

Courtesy Fondazione Prada.

May 29, 2013

When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013
1 June–3 November 2013

Fondazione Prada
Ca’ Corner della Regina
Calle de Ca’ Corner
Santa Croce 2215
30135 Venice, Italy
Vaporetto Stops: San Stae (Line 1 & Vaporetto dell’Arte),
Rialto Mercato (Line 1)  
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm

T 39 041 8109161 (Venice)
info [​at​] fondazioneprada.org


The Fondazione Prada presents between 1 June and 3 November 2013 at Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice an exhibition titled When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013, curated by Germano Celant in dialogue with Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas. In a surprising remaking, the project reconstructs Live in Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form, a show curated by Harald Szeemann at the Bern Kunsthalle in 1969, which went down in history for the curator’s radical approach to exhibition practice conceived as a linguistic medium.

To present today an exhibition from 1969 just as it was, maintaining its original visual and formal relations and links between the works, has posed a series of questions on the complexity and very meaning of the project, which has developed through a profound debate from various perspectives: the artistic, the architectural and the curatorial. Underlining and highlighting the transition from the past to the present, the complex identity of which it is important to conserve, it has been decided to graft the exhibition in its totality—walls, floors, installations and art objects, including their relative positions—onto the historical architectural and environmental structure of Ca’ Corner della Regina, thereby inserting—on a full-size scale—the modern rooms of the Kunsthalle, delimited by white-wall surfaces, into the ancient frescoed and decorated halls of the Venetian palazzo.

It is, in fact, an exercise in double occupancy: in the same way that the spaces of the Kunsthalle were occupied by a generation of young revolutionary artists in 1969, taking the same approach, the richly decorated spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina are in turn being invaded by the Kunsthalle’s twentieth-century rooms. The result is a literal and radical superposition of spaces that produces new and unexpected relationships: between the artworks themselves and between the artworks and the space they occupy.

The intention is to breathe new life into the exhibition process with which When Attitudes Become Form was staged, so as to go beyond the necessity for photographs and films of the past event, and to be able to experience and analyze it literally, just as it was, even though it has been transported from the past to the present. The project has entailed the understanding that the language with which an exhibition is mounted and the relations between the works set out by its curator have become a founding element of the history of modern and contemporary art.

With regard to the content of the artworks and their reciprocal connections, following an in-depth research, conducted in close contact with the artists, their heirs and their foundations, and working with Glenn Phillips, curator at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles (GRI), which houses the Harald Szeemann Archive and Library, When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013 brings together the original works presented in Bern. These have been loaned by important private collections and international museums, and have required site-specific interventions recreated directly or in association with the artists, plus a selection of photographs, videos, books, letters, ephemeral objects and other original materials relating to the 1969 show and its context. The exhibition also includes unpublished materials from the Harald Szeemann Archive generously loaned by the GRI.

A scientific volume of more than 600 pages is published to coincide with When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013. It includes the complete collection of photographs, many previously unpublished, taken by photographers during the exhibition in Bern (Claudio Abate, Leonardo Bezzola, Balthasar Burkhard, Siegfried Kuhn, Dölf Preisig, Harry Shunk and Albert Winkler); a preface by Miuccia Prada; an interview-essay by Germano Celant; two dialogues with Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas; as well as contributions by internationally recognized historians, theoreticians, curators and critics (Gwen L. Allen, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Claire Bishop, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Charles Esche, Boris Groys, Jens Hoffmann, Chus Martínez, Glenn Phillips, Christian Rattemeyer, Dieter Roelstraete, Anne Rorimer, Terry Smith, Mary Anne Staniszewski, Francesco Stocchi, Jan Verwoert).

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Fondazione Prada presents When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013
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