January 28, 2011 - Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia
January 28, 2011

Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia

Markus Schinwald, “A Stage Matrix II,” 2006.

Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia
Artist: Markus Schinwald

Commissioner: Eva Schlegel


Eva Schlegel is pleased to announce that Markus Schinwald will represent Austria at the 54th Biennale di Venezia in the Austrian Pavilion.

Markus Schinwald engages in his work with the human body and the way it is embedded in the cultural context as well as a psychological analysis of the space that surrounds it. The dynamics of the individual and the collective, which are frequently dominated by constraints and anxiety, are expressed in the various media with which Schinwald works in the form of alienation, fragmentation and rifts. He explores the normal and its perception on the basis of films, sculptures, the design of clothes or the reworking of old paintings and lithographic prints where the subjects are manipulated and altered to open up new levels of reality and experience. The aestheticised images stand in contrast to the gaps that are evoked and the shifts in narrative while also being a product of the intermingling of reality, experience and perception.

This approach also makes itself felt in his Biennale contribution: the viewer turns into a performer, the pavilion into a closed stage. By dissecting the interior space along vertical axes, a new mode of perception emerges which makes the human body its structural frame of reference: “Although these constructional components are of course architectural elements, it suggested itself to use psychoanalytical terms for a concise definition; after all, the space created is dissociative rather than actually fragmented: claustrophobic above and nothing below. Or, if you will, the mind in neurosis, the crotch in psychosis. However, unlike in the spatial sculptures of Bruce Nauman or Robert Morris, the space intervention is not an autonomous act here, but also a kind of stage system or environment for the display of different works. It is, for one thing, an attempt to establish various different elements and, at the same time, to avoid explicit categorizations through contrastive positioning,” Markus Schinwald explains.

Approaching Venice
The Austrian contribution is accompanied by the video platform Approaching Venice, which launches on 26 January 2011. Eva Schlegel, commissioner of the Austrian Pavilion for the 54th Biennale di Venezia and initiator of the platform, invites well-known personalities from the fields of art and architecture to participate in a conversation. Nine interviews with leading artists, museum directors, curators, architects and critics form the basis for the theoretical engagement with the Biennale as a major event. Consideration has also been given to Director Bice Curiger’s overall theme for this year’s Biennale, ILLUMInations.
The videos are available online as downloads and podcasts at www.labiennale.at, and will be updated at fortnightly intervals from 26 January until the end of May 2011 both on the homepage and on Facebook. The interviews will also be streamed for smartphones on youtube.

Markus Schinwald, born in 1973 in Salzburg, Austria, lives and works in Vienna and Los Angeles, and is one of Austria’s most emerging contemporary artists. He has had numerous solo shows, including at the Kunsthaus Bregenz (2009), Műcsarnok Kunsthalle Budapest (2009), Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2008), Augarten Contemporary, Vienna (2007), Aspen Art Museum (2006) and the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2004). His works are to be found in numerous international collections, including at Tate Modern, London, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris, Kunsthaus Zürich and the MUMOK — Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna.

In April 2010, Eva Schlegel was appointed commissioner of the Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia by Federal Minister for Education, the Arts and Culture Dr. Claudia Schmied.

Eva Schlegel is an artist and lives and works in Vienna. She studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, and held the position of Professor of Photography at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna from 1997 to 2006. Her works have been regularly presented in exhibitions both in Austria and internationally, including the Biennale di Venezia (1995), the Novartis Campus in Basel (2007) and the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, (2008). Most recently, her major solo exhibition titled “In Between” opened at the MAK (Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, Vienna) in early December 2010, simultaneous to an exhibition at Galerie Krinzinger. Aside from her own comprehensive art work, Eva Schlegel has also curated numerous exhibitions which moved non-conformist and younger positions into the focus of the art-viewing public.

Press information at www.labiennale.at or by contacting Christina Werner, T +43 1 524 96 46 – 22, press@labiennale.at.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture

Austrian Pavilion at the 54th Biennale di Venezia
Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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