International Art Exhibition
At the Nordic and Danish
Not a group show in the conventional sense.
TOM OF FINLAND
Untitled, 1979, Pencil on paper, 29.8 cm x 40 cm
Courtesy Collection of Daniel Buchholz and Christopher
of Finland original artwork will be on display!
The public will be guided on a tour by a real estate
agent through a “For Sale” Danish Pavilion, and will be
told the story of the Ingmar Bergman-style family dramas that used
to haunt this house. A long swimming pool will lead the visitors to
the neighbouring Nordic Pavilion – a flamboyant bachelor’s
pad. Inside they will encounter the domestic remnants of the mysterious
Mr. B, and be met by a group of young male hustlers sipping vodka
tonics in an environment that could be a case study motif taken from
a David Hockney painting.
The artists and designers included in the exhibition are:
Thora Dolven Balke, Massimo Bartolini, Hernan Bas, Guillaume Bijl,
Maurizio Cattelan, Elmgreen & Dragset, Pepe Espaliú, Tom
Simon Fujiwara, Han & Him, Laura Horelli, Martin Jacobson, William
E. Jones, Terence Koh, Jani Leinonen, Klara Lidén, Jonathan
Nico Muhly, Norway Says, Henrik Olesen, Nina Saunders,
Vibeke Slyngstad, Sturtevant and Wolfgang Tillmans.
On the occasion of the 53rd International Art
Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the Nordic and Danish
Pavilions will collaborate with a project curated by artists’
duo Elmgreen & Dragset. The project was initiated by the
Office for Contemporary Art Norway, the hosting organization
for the Nordic Pavilion in 2009, and the Danish Arts Council’s
Committee for International Visual Arts, commissioners of their
respective pavilions, with the intention to create a ‘transnational
neighbourhood’ within the Giardini, an exhibition context
traditionally dedicated to national representation.
The appointment of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar
Dragset as curators was the logical result of this attempt to
construct a common space within the Giardini because their joint
work as artists has been characterised until today by an exploration
of both public and private space, and the uses, scenographies
and power relations that are at play within them.
The curators have responded to this idea with
an exhibition that, under the title The Collectors,
offers an allegorical stage set where two interrelated fictional
portraits are presented, each in connection to one of the two
pavilions. Through this setting, the particular and personal
of the individuals portrayed is set in contrast to the wider,
open landscape of the Venice Biennale, in an exploration of
the increasingly porous realms of the private and the public.
Together with a selection of invited international artists,
Elmgreen & Dragset will transform the existing architecture
of the Danish and Nordic Pavilions into domestic settings, and
invite the audience to be guests in a domestic ambience. Here,
dining rooms and bedrooms, furniture, fireplaces, a stained
glass skylight and the artworks nestled within the households
will reveal the uncanny stories of various fictional inhabitants,
their obsessive characters and their diverse lifestyles.
As the title of the show indicates, the curators will approach
the topic of collecting, and the psychology behind the practice
of expressing oneself through physical objects. Why do we gather
items and surround ourselves with them in our everyday lives?
Which mechanisms of desire trigger our selection?
The selected artworks, alongside the interior design, kitchenware,
clothing and even a collection of flies, will compose the complex
narratives of this double exhibition. Through the house décor
and the collection of artworks, the garments in the wardrobes,
the porcelain in the kitchen and the books in the library, the
identities of the fictional inhabitants, their passions and
melancholy, will emerge piece by piece.
The Collectors is not a group show in the conventional
The pavilions will undergo a radical reconstruction, and more
than twenty artists and designers of all ages, ranging from
established to emerging ones, will contribute to creating a
different kind of exhibition format, one that will appear closer
to a film set than a conventional art display. The curators
aim to establish a unique atmosphere of intimacy with their
staged exhibition – one that can run counter to the official
spectacle and formal nature of the Biennale – and, in
close collaboration with the participating artists and designers,
they hope to circumvent all the usual competitive aspects of
the larger art event.
Nordic and Danish Pavilions
The exhibition will be open Tuesday through Sunday,
as well as Monday, June 8,
and Monday, November 16. Opening hours 10.00 AM
- 6.00 PM.
Giardini Pubblici, 30122
Venice, Venice (Veneto), Italy · Map
Nordic and Danish Pavilions Website