24 May 2017


Venice Biennale
Erwin Wurm, Ship of fools, 2017, 
Courtesy the artist & La Biennale di Venezia

Responding to a year of political turmoil: of Brexit and Trump; of crackdown in Turkey and of yet more terrorist attacks, this year’s Venice Biennale was meant as a countervailing force. French native Christine Macel set out to curate “a biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists", wherein art serves as a "last bastion against individualism and indifference”. Lacking an overarching theme, Viva Arte Viva is divided into nine chapters: The Pavilion of Artists and Books and The Pavilion of Joys and Fears in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini; The Pavilion of the Common, - the Earth,  - the Traditions, and - the Shamans; as well as The Dionysian Pavilion; The Pavilion of Colors; and finally The Pavilion of Time and Infinity in the Arsenale. Offering artists loose realms to move within is an intriguing idea, yet its realization often underwhelms. Especially in the Central Pavilion, many works are poorly presented. Frances Starkes' Behold Man! (2013), a strong and detailed 192 x 244 cm collage, is hung in a narrow corridor that prevents visitors from beholding the work in its entirety. Too often the placement of works feels like a compromise, more than a thought through juxtaposition. The nine chapters, with their promise of openness and free space, can come to feel clichéd and banal.

9 May 2017


Philip Grözinger_Courtesy SEXAUER_Photo Marcus Schneider_artfridge7
Philip Grözinger, Courtesy Galerie SEXAUER, Photo © Marcus Schneider

Set in an utterly dystopian landscape, the paintings of Berlin-based artist Philip Grözinger reveal an imaginative universe full of little machines, wired robots and rainbows. In this universe, human beings have become uniform, balloon'ish creatures, whose protective gear turn them into hybrids between man and machine. Despite their desolate setting the images do not convey any disillusion, but they are oddly light-hearted, poetic even, and a bit sarcastic at times. Since years, Grözinger has worked on different unnamed characters and scenarios of this phantasmagorical world, creating an infinite row of sci-fi sequences and visions of our "future archaeology." In our conversation he explains where his inspiration stems from.