Backward heading forward: choreography by Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz at the Swiss Pavilion

The artists Boudry and Lorenz use their bodies as a political act for a whispered revolution at the Venice Biennale.

Padiglione della Svizzera

Darkness, shadows and bodies are the tools shared between the public and the work inside the Swiss Pavilion. Here the viewer is immediately catapulted onto the scene, where automatic curtains move, violating the space and erasing the notion of performance.

At the centre of their installation Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz place a video portraying five performers (Julie Cunningham, Werner Hirsch, Latifa Laâbissi, Marbles Jumbo Radio and Nach) in an act that is not at all codified. The backwards motion of the performers becomes a dance made of small gestures that deconstruct not only the progressive linearity of time but the very idea of language itself.

The body is turned into a subject, reclaiming its own individuality as a unique yet shareable experience. Moreover, during the preview days, on the outside of the Pavilion visitors come across two of the performers from the video who read and who interpret the writings of a newspaper in which “both artists have collected statements written by a dozen male and female writers, on topics like philosophy, art, political activism as well as post-colonial and queer theories”. In these readings there is no imposing message but instead the whisper of a personal translation and the power of sharing.

In the words of Charlotte Laubard, the Swiss Pavilion curator: “Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz conceive their installation as tools that lead each man and woman to reconsider their own representations. Their work creates a two-fold shake-up: it introduces gestures, images and objects that refer to political and social issues while at the same time gives these same elements a strong autonomy so that they can interact with the audience and establish a relationship that overruns their perception and identification”.

Opening picture: Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, “Moving Backwards”, Swiss Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, 2019. Courtesy the artists. Photo: Annik Wetter.

Pauline Boudry, Renate Lorenz
Charlotte Laubard
58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia
Giardini del Castello, Venice Biennale
11th May - 24th November 2019

Special Biennale

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