Maria Eichhorn, conceptual prankster, to represent Germany at 2022 Venice Biennale

Maria Eichhorn will represent Germany at the Venice Biennale next year. The artist, who was born in Bamberg and lives in Berlin, is expected to take over the country’s pavilion in the Giardini, though, as the artist is known for her humour and bold conceptual gestures, this is not a given. For an exhibition in 2016 at London’s Chisenhale Gallery, she merely closed the non-profit space, giving the staff 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours of paid leave.

For Documenta 11 in 2002 the artist founded a public limited company with a special status that prohibited it from increasing its capital. In Kassel, she presented the company’s founding legal documents and the €50,000 equity in paper notes, a work she says that commented on the relationship between art and the economy. At another edition, Documenta 14 in 2017, Eichhorn returned, this time with a new corporate body, the The Rose Valland Institute. Working in collaboration with various scholarly institutions, the organisation, still in existence, researches and documents the dispossession of Europe’s Jewish population, raising the issue of unresolved ownership and property structures since the war and the continued effects of Nazism.

Maria Eichhorn, Unlawfully acquired books from Jewish ownership, 2017. Online review Documenta 14
Maria Eichhorn, Unlawfully Acquired Books from Jewish Ownership, 2017. Exhibited at Documenta 14

Yilmaz Dziewior, the curator of the German Pavilion, said in a statement: ‘In my view there are few artists who address themselves to German history and its impact on the present in as multifaceted and intensive a manner as Maria Eichhorn.’

The art biennale, to be curated by Cecilia Alemani, was postponed from 2021 to next year in order that the architecture biennale, which was unable to happen in 2020, could take its place. For an ongoing list of which artists are exhibiting at which national pavilions see here.

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