Germany’s National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has been bruised again.
In 1993, artist Hans Hack became famous for smashing the building’s limestone floors and Put rubble on screen. This time, Maria Eichhorn tore a long patch of it and dug it out, revealing brick and cement supports, as well as dirt and rocks. The paved fence prevents visitors from falling into the abyss.
Although the Eichhorn piece is a nod to Chris Burden’s legendary 1986 piece Uncovering the foundations of the museum, which excavated part of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and accurately understanding what is going on here requires referring to some of the accompanying texts. This is often the case with the Eichhorn cutter.
The Basics: Initially I “developed the idea of moving” the building in order to run the Biennale and then “faithfully reassemble it in its original location”. One would imagine that this would be a complex – and expensive – endeavour. Instead, it showcased its foundations, laid in the 2000s to create a pavilion for the Kingdom of Bavaria. In the 1930s, the Nazis erected an expansion of the imposing architecture that still stands. Eichhorn also revealed slices of the building’s brick walls, as if removing parts of the pavilion.
In the heat of competition for attention during the Biennale, one has to at least reluctantly admire Eichhorn’s restraint. She refuses to play that game. But if this is her only contribution to the world’s largest art festival, it will certainly be disappointing: the history of the German Pavilion is far from obscure at this point, and artists regularly Use it as chips.
Fortunately, the Eichhorn suite has additional components. Over the course of the Biennale, guided tours will take place throughout Venice as it describes “places of resistance” When anti-fascist events took place in the city during World War II or where monuments to this resistance have been built since then.
Organized around Venice with Istituto veneziano per la storia della resistenza e della socialetà contemporanea, these tours include areas that regular Biennale-goers will be familiar with, such as the ghetto and Santa Lucia train station.
Deeply researched materials On the wing’s website Details of the history of these sites. In the ghetto, tour guides Giulio Poppo or Luisella Romeo will detail the stories of Giuseppe Juna, the head of the Jewish community board, who committed suicide in 1943 rather than provide the Nazis with a list of group members, as well as 250 Jews deported from the city during the war, eight of whom survived. In Santa Lucia, attendees will learn about a veteran railway inspector, Bartolomeo Meloni, who was involved in sabotage operations and died in the Dachau concentration camp.
Those tours won’t begin until next week, on April 28, long after the VIPs have left town. April 28 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Venice, after fighting between German forces and Italian partisans at Arsenal, the great old shipyards, now filled with hundreds of artworks – and the Ukraine Pavilion.
As for the Germany Pavilion, there have been proposals over the years to demolish it or radically remodel it. Eichhorn, for its part, says in formal interview With the curator, Yilmaz Dzior, it is “to be preserved as a monument.”
The artist called her show “Relocating the Hulk,” and invited us to imagine displaying it in the cart, at least temporarily. However, her full draft suggests a broader reading of her title. The exhibition presents very little to see inside the pavilion, and instead directs viewers outside, to the city, to remember the suffering and losses that occurred there.
Right now, endless amounts of time and money are flowing through the biennale’s structure. Eichhorn seems to wonder, can at least part of this structure be moved – redirected – to other urgent matters?