Artists Yael Bartana and Ersan Mondtag Will Represent Germany at the Venice Biennale

Called "Thresholds," the exhibition will have a satellite location on an island in the lagoon.

The German Pavilion in Venice, Italy. Photo: Bas Princen via Uncube Magazine

Berlin- and Amsterdam-based, Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana and Ersan Mondtag, a theater-based artist who was born and based in the German capital, will be headlining the German pavilion titled “Thresholds” at the upcoming Venice Biennale, organizers announced this week.

In addition to the German pavilion at the Giardini, the event curated by Çağla Ilk, co-director of Baden Baden Kunsthalle, and conceived by the pavilion’s commissioner Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), will also feature fellow Berlin-based artists Michael Akstaller, Nicole L’Huillier, Robert Lippok, and Jan St. Werner in an extended exhibition located on the island of La Certosa in the Venetian lagoon.

“‘Thresholds’ stands for the present as a place where no one can stay and that only exists because on thing has occurred and another still awaits,” organizers said in a statement. “For people with biographies characterized by migration, the temporal perception of the present as a threshold between the retrospective and the prospective is paired with a fundamental spatial and physical experience of living at the intersection of different belongings.”

Bartana, who works across film, installation, photography, and performance, will consider “a world on the brink of total destruction,” according to the press release and “search” for a way out, imagining “possibilities of future survival through a multifaceted work poised between dystopia and utopia.” For his part, Mondtag, an award-winning artist known for performances and interdisciplinary theater works, will explore other possibilities of the future by bringing history back to life in a dramatic setting that will contrast the monumental nature of the  nation’s pavilion.

“Thresholds” on the island of La Certosa will emphasize “the idea of passage through a threshold space.” It seems the element of sound will play a key role connecting the practices of the four artists featured in this exhibition: Akstaller is an artist who focuses on sound and space, L’Huillier is a transdisciplinary artist and researcher who explores sounds and vibrations, Lippok is a musician and visual artist, and St. Werner is co-founder of music group Mouse on Mars.

The Venice Biennale will open to the public from April 20 to November 24.

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