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“Faust” by Anne Imhof | the German Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale 2017

Place: Venezia, Country: Italy
La Biennale di Venezia
"Faust" by Anne Imhof
The German Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale 2017
Text: Inexhibit
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German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 11 Inexhibit

“Faust” by Anne Imhof | German Pavilion, photo © Inexhibit, 2017

“Faust” by Anne Imhof | The German Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale 2017

Winner of the Golden Lion for the best national participation at the 57th Venice Biennale of Art, the installation on view in the Pavilion of Germany has been created by artist Anne Imhof (b, 1978) who conceived it expressly for this year’s edition of the Biennale.
“Faust” is a performance, over five hours long, taking place for all the seven months of the Biennale.

The work strongly interacts with the architecture of the German Pavilion starting from the outside; guard dogs secluded into a large cage, thick shatterproof glass panes which close the entrance portico of the pavilion’s neoclassic building, leaving only the possibility for the visitor to view into the main hall, the shifting of the main entrance on the pavilion’s side, and finally the disquieting presence of human beings sitting on the edge of the roof, anticipate a total artwork in which different formal and expressive layers and means –  from visual installation to music, from painting to live performance – overlap.

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 02 Inexhibit

“Faust” by Anne Imhof | German Pavilion, installation view, photo © Inexhibit, 2017

What Anne Imhof stages into (and with) the pavilion space is the depiction of a tough and alienating reality in which individuals are constrained by physical, political, economical, and technological limitations. The hardness of the elements used, such as glass and steel, evokes that of the places in which power and money are managed these days; in glass, in particular, is made the most important alteration of the pavilion’s architecture, namely the addition of a transparent raised platform, one meter over the pavement, which modifies the relationship between space and human presence.

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 03 Inexhibit

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 05 Inexhibit

“Faust” by Anne Imhof | German Pavilion, installation views, photos © Inexhibit, 2017

Beneath the glass slabs, there are persons and a paraphernalia of restraint devices, makeshift beds, flasks, and prescription bottles. Above the transparent platform, the public move watching a group of performers – with fixed, catatonic eyes – who exhibit themselves without establishing a real communication with the visitors, yet that are absolutely aware of the power of their visual appearance.
As the pavilion curator, Susanne Pfeffer, says: “These disciplined and fragile bodies appear as a material pervaded by invisible power structures. They are subjects that constantly seem to defy their own objectification. Media representation is innate to these biotechno bodies. The performers know full well that their gestures are not ends in and of themselves, but only exist as pure mediality. They seem forever on the verge of transforming themselves into pictures ready for consumption; they aspire to become images, digital commodities. In an era characterized by an extreme degree of mediality, images, far from merely depicting reality, create it.”

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 08 Inexhibit

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 09 Inexhibit

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 06 Inexhibit

German Pavilion Venice Art Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof 07 Inexhibit

“Faust” by Anne Imhof | German Pavilion, installation views, photos © Inexhibit, 2017

Biennale-Arte-Venezia-2017-German-Pavilion-02 Anne Imhof-Nadine Fraczkowski

Eliza Douglas and Franziska Aigner in Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017 German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia © Photography: Nadine Fraczkowski Courtesy: German Pavilion 2017, the artist.

Biennale-Arte-Venezia-2017-German-pavilion-04 Anne Imhof-Nadine Fraczkowski

Eliza Douglas in Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017 German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia © Photography: Nadine Fraczkowski Courtesy: German Pavilion 2017, the artist

Biennale-Arte-Venezia-2017-26 Anne Imhof-Nadine Fraczkowski

Billy Bultheel and Franziska Aigner in Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017 German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia © Photography: Nadine Fraczkowski Courtesy: German Pavilion 2017, the artist



Venice Art Biennale 2017 | info, program, exhibitions, and events

Venice Art Biennale 2017 | info, program, exhibitions, and events

Venice Art Biennale 2017 | info, program, exhibitions, and events


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