Salon Suisse 2017: ATARAXIA

Pro Helvetia and RAW Material Company present a series of talks and events during Venice Biennale 2017

Swiss Institute at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Venice

This year, to coincide with the 57th Venice Biennale, Salon Suisse will present a series of talks and events which will run alongside the exhibition at the Swiss Pavilion. ArtReview is pleased to be supporting this programme as media partner. The talks and events, which will take place at the opening event (11 May) and continue over three weekends throughout the duration of the Biennale, have been organised in collaboration by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Dakar-based RAW Material Company. Koyo Kouoh, the artistic director and founder of RAW Material Company, is this year’s salonnière of the Collateral programme.

Titled ATARAXIA, the series looks at ‘the paradoxical position Switzerland occupies within the current economic, political, scientific and cultural landscape of Europe and further afield, as well as [reflects] on its (post)colonial narratives’.

Inspired by Roland Barthes’s collection of essays Mythologies (1957), ATARAXIA questions the ‘mythologisation’ of Switzerland as an untroubled country, seeking to reveal the contradictions in its representation and reality. Switzerland is believed to have the ‘largest concentration of cultural capital in the world’, and to advocate for prime living standards and a ‘green’ economy, but in avoiding the subject of its imperial history, the country has been experiencing political and moral criticism in relation to its statecraft.

The intention of the Salon Suisse sessions has been outlined by Kouoh: ‘Unpacking these “mythologies” is to stand against this overarching narrative and to confront their common parlance. What is needed — at the risk of sounding utopian — is a new set of relations and resonances... Only then can we foster a language that is multilingual: a language which communicates our commonalities along with our differences. A language which reaches beyond the screen of viral activism to shake us by the shoulders and urges us to stand shoulder to shoulder.’

‘We are quick to exclaim words such as compassion and empathy to ratify our political or social engagements, but all too often the enactment of that gesture forms a proxy for meaningful action. Recognising that so-called ‘neutrality’ might better diagnose a certain condition of apathy, ATARAXIA aims to rattle and awaken the dormancy of our body’s dwindling energies. ATARAXIA is a call to mobilise and to organise around a politics of care and respect. In this we celebrate the diversity of our collective experiences as global citizens.’

ATARAXIA will be held in four sessions at Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi which houses the Swiss Institute:

1. (opening event) ‘Euphony’: 11 May

2. ‘Eating Well’: 31 August – 2 September

3. ‘Cultivating Well’: 19 October – 21 October

4. ‘Kinesis’: 23 November – 25 November

A detailed programme of the Salon Suisse events will be published here.

27 April 2017