Biennale Arte 2022


Austrian contribution to the 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2022

Invitation of the Soft Machine and Her Angry Body Parts

Curator: Karola Kraus

The Austrian pavilion at the 59th Art Biennale taking place in Venice from 23 April to 27 November 2022 has opend.

Under the title Invitation of the Soft Machine and Her Angry Body Parts, Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirldesigned installation settings pervaded by their entire artistic cosmos — from paintings, sculptures and photos to textile works, writings and videos and on to a fashion collection and a publication in the form of a magazine.

These spaces of desire run counter to conventional ideas of museum presentations and undermine the hierarchies of art and design, of high and low. They analyse the operations of the mechanism that becomes the co-producer of identity constructions as well as the role of desire and sensual experience in them. Reflections on the idea of liberation from conventions give rise to spaces that can be playfully experienced by onlookers who become actors in the scenography.

Thus, the installation of Ashley Hans Scheirl is a walk-in self-portrait of the artist as a painter. As in the proscenium of a theatre, flat pieces of scenery are arranged that, at the same time, form the layers of unfolded paintings. This scenery is made up of architectural interventions, paintings, printed wallpapers and objects made of various materials. It constitutes a walk-through, accessible painting as well as a theatre stage that is moved to the auditorium or even below it since it is a special architectural feature of the pavilion that visitors entering the building walk down two steps to the two main rooms.

"The installation is characterised by a dynamic confrontation or interlacing of different, seemingly paradoxical spaces, styles and pictogram-like symbols that all want to attract the attention of the visitors with their respective features. In their turn, the visitors become protagonists in this play and set the scenery in motion with their bodies," says Karola Kraus, the curator of the pavilion.

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Secretary of State for Culture Andrea Mayer: "The Biennale Arte of Venice is the most comprehensive and most important international visual art exhibition. I am very pleased that Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl are going to design the show Invitation of the Soft Machine and Her Angry Body Parts for the Austrian pavilion in the expected innovative form.

They have proven many times that they are able to set the scene for relevant issues of our times in a highly exciting and surprising way. Themes related to societal identity, artistic expression and formal stringency are addressed in a self-reflecting, open-minded and extremely humorous fashion. Visitors will be able to gain insights into the artistic cosmos of Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl in an extensive and easily accessible supporting programme."


Biennale Arte 2022

The Milk of Dreams

Exhibition: 23 April - 27 November 2022

Curator: Cecilia Alemani


21th April 2022, 03:00 p.m.

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