ArtReview sent a questionnaire to artists and curators exhibiting in and curating the various national pavilions of the 2015 Venice Biennale, the responses to which are being published daily in the lead-up to the Venice Biennale opening.
Lina Selander is representing Sweden. The Pavilion is in the Arsenale.
What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?
The title of my exhibition is: Excavating of the Image: Imprint, Shadow Spectre, Thought. Daniel Birnbaum and Ann-Sofie Norling at Moderna Museet in Stockholm invited me. Lena Essling is the curator of the exhibition. They asked me to make an exhibition with both new and older works, so I will show a group of works from 2011 to 2015. They are all separate works, of course, but my idea is to present them in a kind of overarching meta-montage, which goes well with the form of the individual works, not least because there are references, themes, even images, they have in common.
All works revolve in one way or another around the status of the image, as representation, memory, object, imprint or surface, and our relationships to it. They examine the official representations of historical events as well as the visual languages and apparatuses that produce them, underlining that history in many respects is the history of recording devices and technologies. Also, the works share a relation to the desires and failures of modernity, for instance through the disasters of Chernobyl and Hiroshima, which are juxtaposed with images of nature, cross-referencing the visual effects of photographic, geological and nuclear processes to create new sedimentations of meaning.
There will also be a publication with a conversation between me, Oscar Mangione and Kim West and a text about my work by Raymond Bellour.
Are you approaching this show in a different way as to how you would a ‘normal’ exhibition?
The big difference is the bigger scale and the number of visitors. There are also many rules and regulations concerning the installation, e.g. not to damage the walls and ceiling at the Arsenale. I will work with textile curtains that will correspond beautifully with the brick walls, I hope. There’s a lot of planning ahead, logistics, a bigger production than I am used to.
What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or problematic?
It’s the general form of the Biennale. It’s not particularly problematic, or if it is, it’s another question. I’m honoured, of course.
How are you approaching the different audiences who come to Venice – the masses of artist peers, gallerists, curators and critics concentrated around the opening and the general public who come through over the following months?
I don’t think there is any difference in my approach, besides the professional and social aspects of interacting with people in the art world. I hope to present a generous exhibition that will invite any curious person to stay and reflect, to give it more than the average two minutes that I am told is the average time spent per person in each pavilion. An exciting challenge!
What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?
Hans Haacke’s installation Germania with the broken pavilion floor.
You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?
Joan Jonas. She has been a great inspiration. I’m really not very updated right now about the other participating artists, but I will of course take the time to see everything. I also look forward to seeing Okwui Enwezor’s exhibition.
How does having a pavilion in Venice affect the art scene in your home country?
As far as I’m concerned, there has been a surge in media attention and perhaps also a little broader general interest. Swedish television is making a documentary and gallerists want to collaborate.
Online exclusive published 18 April 2015.