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Pavilion of Switzerland at the Biennale Arte 2019 – «Moving Backwards»

At the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, artist duo Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz will transform the Swiss Pavilion into a vast immersive installation. Entitled «Moving Backwards», the project explores, in a time of massive backlash, resistance practices, combining guerrilla techniques, postmodern choreography and urban dance, as well as elements of queer underground culture.

Curator: Charlotte Laubard
Commissioner: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia – Marianne Burki, Head of Visual Arts; Sandi Paucic, Project Leader; Rachele Giudici Legittimo, Project Coordinator

Press conference: Wednesday, 8 May 2019, 2pm
Official opening: Thursday, 9 May 2019, 2.30pm
Exhibition: 11 May to 24 November 2019
Pre-opening: 8 to 10 May 2019
Venue: Pavilion of Switzerland, Giardini della Biennale, Venice

Curator Charlotte Laubard, who is responsible for the Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019, has invited artists Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz to present an installation, which includes a new video work. Entitled «Moving Backwards», the exhibition reflects on the current political situation, characterised by its regressive and reactionary forces of closure towards the other and towards difference. Faced with the scale of this recent backlash, the artists, instead of practicing an outright opposition, suggest «backward movements» as a potential tool for producing alternative forms of resistance and action.

Since the beginning of their collaboration in 2007, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz have been continuously reflecting on the visibility and the existence of the other beyond the binarisms and categories that define our identities. Through filming and staging their performances in installations, the artist duo seeks to reveal what, in the constructed and composite character of identities, can undo our stereotypical representations in order to consider new relationships and to invent new modes of coexistence. As Charlotte Laubard observes: «Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz conceive their installations as devices that lead us to renegotiate our representations. Their work produces a double inversion: it introduces gestures, images and objects that refer to current political and social issues. At the same time, it grants these elements a high degree of autonomy so that they can interact with the public and establish interrelations that challenge our modes of perception and identification.»

For the Biennale Arte 2019, the artists will develop a large film installation involving performers Julie Cunningham, Werner Hirsch, Latifa Laâbissi, Marbles Jumbo Radio and Nach who will experiment with backward movements. Invited to enter a dense choreography generated by body movements, film loops and animated objects, visitors will participate in strange encounters, in an environment reminiscent of a nightclub. Their physical and sensory experience will be complemented by moments of reflection on the Pavilion’s theme in the form of a free journal containing statements written by a dozen authors from the fields of philosophy, art, political activism, post-colonial and queer theories.

Project journal and catalogue

In addition to a project journal, which is to be distributed at the Pavilion, a catalogue will be on sale at a later date. It includes statements, installation views, and essays in order to deepen and extend reflections on the exhibition.

Further information and press images are available on:

Media relations

Switzerland: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Communication
Lisa Stadler | Communication Pro Helvetia | T +41 44 267 71 51 | lstadler@prohelvetia.ch

International: Pickles PR
Caroline Widmer | Pickles PR | M +44 7908 848 075 | caroline@picklespr.com
Camille Regli | Pickles PR | M +44 7835 237 292 | camille@picklespr.com

Note to editors

Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
Media Release from 26 February 2019