Valentin Carron

Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Valentin Carron, Ciao n°5, 2012. Piaggio Ciao
restored, 105 x 160 x 64 cm. *

March 25, 2013

Valentin Carron
1 June–24 November 2013

Press conference: 29 May 2013, 4pm
Opening: 31 May 2013, 4pm

Pavilion of Switzerland 
Giardini della Biennale, Venice

Curator: Giovanni Carmine
Commissioner: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia

Valentin Carron will represent Switzerland at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia from 1 June to 24 November 2013 in the Swiss Pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale. His exhibition is complemented by an accompanying talks and events programme titled “Salon Suisse” at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi.

For Valentin Carron, sculpture is central to his work. The formal vocabulary of his pieces is inspired by the imagery of the Canton of Valais, where he has spent almost all his life, borrowing and adapting the internationally renowned vocabulary of the style of his alpine home region and making it peculiarly his own. Through stylistic and material tensions, his art casts doubt as to the authenticity of the vernacular, whilst developing a highly personal artistic discourse.

For the Swiss Pavilion the artist has teamed up with Giovanni Carmine, director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. Carron’s exhibition is conceived as a specific, autonomous whole, encompassing wall and floor-based sculptural pieces, installation and readymade artwork. Greeting the visitor at the door of the pavilion will be a wrought iron snake whose form (over 80 metres long) winds through the architecture like a drawn line. Carron’s serpent is a two-headed beast that becomes a decorative element in the modernist architecture of the Swiss Pavilion, designed in 1952 by Bruno Giacometti. The intervention defines a path through the pavilion, treating its architecture respectfully whilst also querying the status of works of art and function of sculpture. The gesture is typical of Carron’s practice which fearlessly employs archaic symbols, archetypal forms and references to art history.

Further works in the exhibition include “windows”—wall-based artworks inspired by the public and religious architecture of the 1950s which recall modernist abstract paintings, but are in fact made out of fibre-glass; a collection of flattened musical instruments cast in bronze, hung so as to punctuate the space; and a Piaggio Ciao scooter transformed by its context into a pop readymade. These apparently nonsequitous elements create a disconcerting and ambivalent effect in which nothing is quite what it seems and all is thrown into question, amounting, in the words of the curator, Giovanni Carmine, to “an elegant discussion on the complexity of defining sculpture.”

“Salon Suisse”: platform for lively international exchange
Complementing Valentin Carron’s exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia organizes an accompanying talks and events programme titled “Salon Suisse” at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, in the heart of Venice’s old town, offering a platform for exchange on contemporary art and thought in a relaxed atmosphere. Inspired by the tradition of art and literary salons in past centuries, “Salon Suisse” aims to encourage an international dialogue among artists, specialists, scholars, students and other interested visitors from all over the world. The “Salon Suisse” 2013 is curated by Berne-based art historian Jörg Scheller, who put together a challenging programme of events focusing on the legacy of Enlightenment in the globalized art world and looking at the history of the Biennale. Five series of events will take place over the entire duration of the biennale with leading academics and arts practitioners. All events are free of admission and open to everyone. Partner of “Salon Suisse” is Laufen Bathrooms AG.

For press inquiries please contact:
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Press Office
Sabina Schwarzenbach | Head of Communication | Pro Helvetia | T +41 44 267 71 39 sschwarzenbach [​at​]

Rhiannon Pickles PR
Caroline Widmer | Rhiannon Pickles PR | M +44 (0) 790 884 8075 | caroline [​at​]

For high-res press images and to download the press release please visit:

*Image above: Valentin Carron, Ciao n°5, 2012. Piaggio Ciao restored, 105 x 160 x 64 cm. © the artist. Courtesy Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich.


Valentin Carron at the 55th Venice Biennale
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Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
March 25, 2013

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