Swiss Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Alexandre Babel and
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia – Madeleine Schuppli
Sandi Paucic, Project Leader
Rachele Giudici Legittimo, Project Manager
23 April to 27 November 2022
International: Pickles PR
Zeynep Seyhun | T +39 349 0034 359 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information and press images available on: biennials.ch
«The Concert»: Latifa Echakhch’s Journey Through Space and Time
Latifa Echakhch’s installation invites audiences to take a multi-facetted, anti-clockwise time trip. Folkloric sculptures enter into a dialogue with space and time.
The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia has this year entrusted the Swiss Pavilion to the renowned artist Latifa Echakhch, who together with Francesco Stocchi, Alexandre Babel and Anne Weckström is set to produce her room-filling installation «The Concert» in the building originally created by Bruno Giacometti. The project will enable visitors to immerse themselves into a world full of orchestrated contradictions – a dance of light and shade, creation and annihilation, beginning and end.
In each room, the atmosphere changes – time runs backwards, from broad daylight to the evening before. Ever more recognizably inspired by folk sculpture and customs, the sculptures, filling the whole space, are increasingly veiled by a spreading darkness. These are scenes of impermanence, of catharsis, with which installation artist Latifa Echakhch captivates visitors of the Swiss Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, scenes that bring to the fore the cycle of life in a multi-layered and complex way. Most of the material used for the exhibition is itself part of a transformation, recycled from previous biennales.
«We want visitors to leave the exhibition with the same feeling they have when they come out of a concert. That this rhythm, those fragments of memory, still echo. The Biennale is an eruption of artistic greatness every time. A wave that culminates in a cathartic grandeur only to then recede, leaving a deserted landscape of abandoned buildings,»
says Latifa Echakhch and raises the question whether art, similar to music, only begins to exist once silence and emptiness take over.
In Latifa Echakhch’s artwork, a fundamental, deeply human theme can be experienced: the emergence, culmination and transience of all things. «The Concert» can also be brought in connection with the overarching topic of this year’s main exhibition. Under the heading «Il latte dei sogni/The milk of dreams», it puts the focus on bodies and their metamorphoses, the interaction between individuals and technology, and human responsibility for the earth as a whole.
«In this project, Latifa Echakhch works with a musician and a light designer to create a multidisciplinary exhibition. I am particularly pleased that the artist, with her project for the Swiss Pavilion, has grasped the opportunity to enter into an innovative form of collaboration. This shows that the Biennale is also a place for artistic experimentation and risk-taking,»
says Philippe Bischof, Director of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
Born in 1974 in El Khnansa (Morocco), Latifa Echakhch lives and works in Vevey and Martigny (Switzerland). Driven by the necessity to counter certain prejudices, contradictions, and stereotypes in our society, she isolates and questions materials that symbolize these phenomena. In 2007, Echakhch presented A chaque stencil une révolution at Le Magasin, Grenoble, as part of her first solo museum exhibition. Latifa Echakhch’s work has since been presented around the world in numerous solo exhibitions: at Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the New National Museum of Monaco, Memmo Foundation in Rome, KIOSK in Ghent, the macLYON in Lyon, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Portikus in Frankfurt, Columbus museum of Art in Ohio, MACBA in Barcelona, FRI ART in Fribourg, Frac Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, Swiss Institute in New York, Tate Modern in London, Le Magasin in Grenoble; as well as in group exhibitions. They have also been exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial, the 54th Venice Biennial, the 11th Sharjah Biennial, the Jerusalem Art Focus Biennial and the Manifesta 7 in Bolzano. Echakhch won the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2013. As Alfred Pacquement, then-Director of the Centre Pompidou and head of the jury for the award, said of the artist at the time: “Her work, between surrealism and conceptualism, questions with economy and precision the importance of symbols and reflects the fragility of modernism.” In 2015, Echakhch presented Screen Shot at the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, and was awarded the Zurich Art Prize.
Born in 1980 in Geneva, lives in Berlin and Geneva.
As a drummer, composer and curator, Alexandre Babel is regarded as an authority in the experimental music scene, and in the interpretation of the 20th and 21st century repertoire. His innovative projects break through the borders of musical convention, confounding listener expectations in the conquest of new contexts. Alexandre Babel has worked with a large number of bands and artists, including the ensemble KNM Berlin, ensemble Musikfabrik, the noise rock band Sudden Infant, Anthony Pateras, Caspar Brötzmann, Carol Robinson, Tristan Perich, Félicia Atkinson and Ryoji Ikeda. In 2020 the monographic Festival Les Amplitudes in La Chaux-de-Fonds focused on Babel’s compositional and curatorial work. Babel is currently the artistic director of the contemporary percussion collective Eklekto. He is a laureate of the Swiss Music Prize 2021.
Born in 1975 in Rome, lives in Amsterdam.
Francesco Stocchi is curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and responsible for the artistic program of Fondazione Memmo in Rome. He is editor of Il Foglio Arte, the art supplement of the Italian newspaper Il Foglio. In 2021 he co-curated the 34th edition of the São Paulo Biennial, entitled Faz escuro mas eu canto. He has curated several solo exhibitions and retrospectives of artists such as Richard Serra, Lygia Pape, Medardo Rosso, Kerstin Brätsch, Oscar Murillo, Pino Pascali, Sol Lewitt, Giulio Paolini, Co Westerik, Gelatin, Alexandra Domanovic and Raphael Hefti. He has also organized thematic exhibitions such as Brancusi-Rosso-Man Ray Framing Sculptures and Minimal Myth. Stocchi has developed experimental group exhibitions, including Boijmans-AHOY, a drive-through exhibition, Le miroir vivant (curated with Alex da Corte) and Balcony Rooms. In addition, he has published numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. Stocchi teaches at NABA (New Academy of Fine Arts, Milan), writes and holds regular conferences on art and visual culture.
The central exhibition at the 59th International Art Exhibition– La Biennale di Venezia, «Il latte dei sogni/The milk of dreams», is located in the main pavilion in the Giardini and at the Arsenale. On invitation by curator Cecilia Alemani, it will also contain works by three major Swiss artists: Hélène Smith (1861–1929) and Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943) as well as Miriam Cahn (*1949), who has been supported multiple times by Pro Helvetia. This year’s Venice Biennale opens on 23 April and runs until 7 November.