The Venice Questionnaire 2015 #9: Pamela Rosenkranz

Representing Switzerland at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Pamela Rosenkranz answered our short questionnaire

Pamela Rosenkranz, Firm Being (Real Glow), 2011. Courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York

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. Pamela Rosenkranz is representing Switzerland. The Pavilion is in the Giardini.

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

It will look like something that could nourish you but at the same time it might also dissolve you. It looks like a genetical solution of human bodies but also like a drink. It is fluid, it smells, it shines, it sounds and it moves. It seems to live, then again, my team and I try not to get it “too” alive.

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

Somehow yes, somehow no, depending on what ‘normal’ means. For a site-specific exhibition I am looking at the tensions I find interesting in a place. With Venice this is particularly special because it is a very tense place. I did a solo show called Our Sun in Venice in 2009 and I spent a lot of time there researching for it. It appeared to me as if it’s sort of a living mausoleum, a historically defined entity that is kept alive artificially. There are many aspects of the contemporary tourism hotspot Venice that become specifically interesting against its medieval backdrop. I looked at this historical relation in comparison to the biological relation we have with the sun. This time, I will focus on the relation we have with each other through the immaterial aspects of a product and the appearance of the anthroposcene that is sharply contrasted in Venice.

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

I don’t represent any country. I am interested in what it means to be human. How do we see? How does our biology, our history, our bodies affect our perception, our understanding of ourselves and the world?

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 do not think about a public when I am working. I want to be free when I make art and I don’t think this is possible if I make art for an existing audience. I rather think an artwork develops its own kind of audience because of the independence it develops.

What are your earliest or best memories of the biennale?

Sounds strange, but the first thing that puzzled me was that I found a scorpion in the Giardini when I came here the first time. Apparently Venice has a big population of scorpions living here. Would you guess? They are not very poisonous though. More or less like bees.

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

There are many very interesting artists that are invited and I find Okwui Enwezor a great curator. There are many female artists taking part. It feels like it is going to be a very interesting biennale.

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

I honestly don’t know.

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

Read all 30 responses to the Venice Questionnaire 2013 edition