Germany Picks Ai Weiwei, Dayanita Singh, And More Non-Germans for 2013 Venice Biennale

Curator Susanne Gaenscheimer, who won the Golden Lion at 2011’s Venice Biennale, announced her program for the 2013 German pavilion on Wednesday. In a nearly unprecedented move, Gaenscheimer will present a show of four artists, none of whom are German: Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng, and Dayanita Singh. The Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt (MMK) curator explained that, at least in terms of ideology, the 2013 pavilion will be a continuation of her transnational approach from last year’s posthumous presentation of Christophe Schlingensief, challenging the traditional formulations of national presentations such as the biennale.

In a statement, Gaenscheimer writes:

Both everyday life and the cultural landscape of Germany are determined by different religions, economies, and political approaches. This defines our everyday and leads to mutual enrichment as well as to confrontation. At the same time it is extremely evident that our society can no longer function without dialog, collaboration and the addressing of different philosophies and actual realities…The artists whom I invited and their works are representative of a number of issues resulting from the convergence of diverse ideologies and conceptions of life, which impact us most immediately today. In the context of the Venice-project it is important to me that these artists manage to expand our perspectives and give us access to the view of the other, sometimes in an uncomfortable way. Although they develop their works out of specific, local contexts, they establish a kind of universal visual language by integrating their individual experiences of internationality.

Hints have also been made regarding a collaborative effort by France and Germany on their 2013 Venice pavilions. The MMK indicated that Gaenscheimer will be in talks with Christine Macel, the curator of the French Pavilion and Chief Curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne (the Centre Pompidou), and Anri Sala, France’s pick for 2013, about possible ways that the two presentations could be combined or in conversation, saying that more information will be available, “in the coming weeks.”

— Alexander Forbes