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Biennale di Venezia: lifting the veil on Carron’s exhibition


Preparations for the exhibition by Valentin Carron from 1 June to 24 November 2013 at the Swiss Pavilion in Venice are well on the way. The artist, born in Martigny, was nominated by Pro Helvetia’s biennials jury to represent our country at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Carron’s exhibition will be accompanied by a wide-ranging programme at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi under the heading «Salon Suisse», comprising discussions and other events on topics of contemporary art.

For Valentin Carron, sculpture is central to his work. The formal vocabulary of his pieces is inspired by the imagery of the Canton of Valais where he has spent almost all his life, borrowing and adapting the internationally renowned vocabulary of the style of his alpine home region and making it peculiarly his own. Through stylistic and material tensions, his art casts doubt as to the authenticity of the vernacular, whilst developing a highly personal artistic discourse.

For the Swiss Pavilion the artist has teamed up with Giovanni Carmine, director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. Carron’s exhibition is conceived as a specific, autonomous whole, encompassing wall and floor-based sculptural pieces, installation and readymade artwork. Greeting the visitor at the door of the pavilion will be a wrought iron snake whose form (over 80 metres long) winds through the architecture like a drawn line. Carron’s serpent is a two-headed beast that becomes a decorative element in the modernist architecture of the Swiss Pavilion, designed in 1952 by Bruno Giacometti. The intervention defines a path through the pavilion, treating its architecture respectfully whilst also querying the status of works of art and function of sculpture. The gesture is typical of Carron’s practice which fearlessly employs archaic symbols, archetypal forms and references to art history.

Further works in the exhibition include ‹windows› – wall-based artworks inspired by the public and religious architecture of the 1950s which recall modernist abstract paintings but are in fact made out of fibre-glass; a collection of flattened musical instruments cast in bronze, hung so as to punctuate the space; and a Piaggio Ciao scooter transformed by its context into a pop ready-made. These apparently nonsequitous elements create a disconcerting and ambivalent effect in which nothing is quite what it seems and all is thrown into question, amounting, in the words of the curator, Giovanni Carmine, to «an elegant discussion on the complexity of defining sculpture».

«Salon Suisse»: platform for lively international exchange

This year the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia presents the first «Salon Suisse» to take place as an official collateral event to the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. An accompanying talks and event programme, the «Salon Suisse» was initiated at last year’s architectural biennale. It takes place at the Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi in the heart of Venice’s old town, offering a platform for exchange on contemporary art and thought in a relaxed atmosphere. Inspired by the tradition of art and literary salons in past centuries, «Salon Suisse» aims to encourage an international dialogue among artists, specialists, scholars, students and other interested visitors from all over the world. The «Salon Suisse» 2013 is curated by Berne-based art historian Jörg Scheller who put together a challenging programme of events focusing on the legacy of Enlightenment in the globalized art world and looking at the history of the Biennale. Five series of events will take place over the entire duration of the biennale with leading academics and arts practitioners. All events are free of admission and open to everyone. Partner of «Salon Suisse» is Laufen Bathrooms AG.

For further information please visit: www.biennials.ch

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Media Relations: Sabina Schwarzenbach, Head of Communication,

Tel. +41 44 267 71 39, Fax +41 44 267 71 06, sschwarzenbach@prohelvetia.ch

Media Release of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 13.03.2013