A video installation about people and light, a collage on the situation of refugees in Germany made from photographs and newspapers, and a workshop for the production of boomerangs on the pavilion roof: at the 56th Venice Biennale Germany is presenting itself with critical works. The curator, Florian Ebner, has transformed the German Pavilion in the Giardini area into an imaginary factory that addresses issues of a globalized world: the flight of refugees, unemployment and the power of the media. On show in the pavilion are works by the German artists Hito Steyerl, Tobias Zielony and Olaf Nicolai as well as the artist/filmmaker duo Jasmina Metwaly and Philip Rizk who live in Cairo.
The Venice Biennale is regarded as the world’s oldest and most renowned international art show. Famous artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Jochen Gerz, Ulrich Rückriem and Hanne Darboven are among those who have exhibited their works at the German Pavilion under the auspices of equally well-known curators, including Susanne Gaensheimer, Julian Heynen, Gudrun Inboden, Jean-Christophe Ammann, Klaus Bussmann and Dieter Honisch.
Focus on photography
An art historian, who specializes in photography, was commissioned to curate the German Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. Florian Ebner was born in 1970 in Regensburg and has been head of the photographic collection at the Museum Folkwang in Essen since 2012. He studied photography at the École nationale supérieure de la photographie in Arles as well as the history of art, Romance studies and history in Bochum. In 2013, his exhibition “Cairo. Open City” at the Museum Folkwang was voted Exhibition of the Year by the German Section of the International Art Critics Association.
This year’s main exhibition titled All the World’s Futures, which has been curated by Okwui Enwezor, is showing works by more than 160 artists. 89 nations are taking part with their own country’s contributions. The German contribution was commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office and realized in cooperation with the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa). So far, Germany has been the only country to win the Golden Lion Award on three separate occasions: in 1986, 2001 and 2011.
Venice Biennale until 22 November 2015