The Venice Questionnaire 2015 #32: Jasper & Joanna Malinowska

Representing Poland at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Jasper & Joanna Malinowska answered our short questionnaire

C. T. Jasper & Joanna Malinowska, Halka/Haiti. 18°48’05”N 72°23’01”W, 2015. Photo by Damas Porcena (Dams), Haiti. Courtesy the artists and Zachęta — National Gallery of Art

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 will be published daily in the lead-up to the Venice Biennale opening.

Jasper & Joanna Malinowska are representing Poland. The Pavilion is in the Giardini.

What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?

Inspired by Werner Hertzog’s Fitzcarraldo, we staged an opera performance of

Moniuszko’s Halka in Haitian village of Cazale, in front of the local audience that distantly, or perhaps symbolically, relates to our country. What we present in Venice is a multi-channel, situational documentary that masquerades as fiction.

Are you approaching this show in a different way as to how you would a ‘normal’ exhibition?


What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or problematic?

Being based for the entirety of our professional careers outside of Poland – in New York and occasionally other places, we are probably not a typical case of national representation. It is definitely an honour to represent one’s motherland, but not free of critical reflection on how countries’ identities are constructed and displayed in front of the audience of ‘the other’. In fact, one of the premises of our multi-layered piece is to examine the mechanisms of one’s identifying with a particular nation or country.

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?

No distinctions nor divisions here. The piece is meant for everyone.

What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?

Our first foreign trip together to see the biennale of 1993.

You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?

All of the world’s futures. Metaphorically and actually.

How does a having a pavilion in Venice affect the art scene in your home country?

The sagas of biannual pavilion projects are usually closely observed, examined and discussed. For us – artists living away from our homeland, it’s a very special opportunity to get attention of our countrymen and art scene.

Read all responses to the Venice Questionnaire 2015 edition published so far

Read all 30 responses to the Venice Questionnaire 2013 edition

Online exclusive published on 8 May 2015.