International News Digest


Curator and critic Bice Curiger has revealed more details about the upcoming fifty-fourth Venice Biennale in 2011. As Agence France-Presse reports, the show will be called “ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations” and will run from June 4 to November 27 next year at the Giardini, the Arsenale, and other venues in the Venice; the professional preview is slated for June 1–3.

According to a press release from the Venice Biennale, the title, which includes a play on the word “nations,” draws attention to the importance of developments in international art in a globalized world. “The work of Venetian painter Tintoretto will play a prominent role in ILLUMInations,” said Curiger, noting a similar “search for light, both rational and febrile” in Tintoretto’s later paintings and in works by contemporary artists. Curiger also plans a more vital role for the national pavilions. “Sometimes the Pavilions of the Biennale are considered anachronistic,” said Curiger. “(O)n the contrary they can be a tool to reflect upon the issue of identity. I wish to reinforce the sense of unity between the International Exhibition and the National Participations, by asking the artists from every country and the artists of ILLUMInations to answer five questions regarding this theme.” No word on the questions, but next year’s event will see several new presences among the pavilions, including the Principality of Andorra, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Rwanda. Congo, which last participated in 1968, and India, which made a contribution in 1980, will both be returning after long absences.


The untimely death of Christoph Schlingensief, who was chosen to represent Germany at the next Venice Biennale, has changed the German pavilion from an exhibition by the late artist into an exhibition about his work. As Austria Presse Agentur reports, curator Susanne Gaensheimer offered some clarifications at a press conference in Frankfurt last week. “I had hoped that we could realize what he planned to do,” said Gaensheimer, who is also the director of Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK). But too many questions remained unanswered in his concept. The curator never considered inviting another artist to replace Schlingensief, who died last August of lung cancer. The decision to make a show “about him instead of by him” was made in consultation with his widow Aino Laberenz, whom Gaensheimer called “a replacement for artistic authority.” Although unrealized, Schlingensief’s ideas for the pavilion may be documented in the next months on the website of the German pavilion before being presented as a book at the biennial.


Cyprien Gaillard has been awarded the 2010 Marcel Duchamp prize. As Agence France-Presse reports, the Berlin-based French artist was named during the thiry-seventh edition of FIAC and won out over fellow finalists Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Camille Henrot, and Anne-Marie Schneider. According to the director of the Centre Pompidou, Alfred Pacquement, the jury appreciated Gaillard’s “cinematographic essays with heavily constructed images.” In addition to winning $50,000, Gaillard has been invited by the Centre Pompidou to make a brand new work, which will be presented for three months next fall at the museum. Organized in collaboration with the Pompidou and FIAC, the Marcel Duchamp prize was created in 2000 by Association Pour la Diffusion Internationale de l’Art Français (Association for the International Dissemination of French Art).


For the first time, two artists have been awarded the twelfth Ricard Foundation prize: Isabelle Cornaro and Benoît Maire. As the arts blog fluctuat reports, the prize was announced in the context of the exhibition “Monsieur Miroir” (Mister Mirror) at the Ricard Foundation in Paris. Cornaro creates sculpted landscapes inspired by Old Masters while Maire orchestrates conceptual works that bring practice and knowledge into dialogue. A work by each artist will be bought by the foundation and donated to the Centre Pompidou, which will show the works next year. “Monsieur Miroir” continues until November 6.


The Centre Pompidou is making a mint. As Agence France-Presse reports, the Paris Mint has pressed an edition of coins featuring the museum’s distinct building, which was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. The head of the coin shows an original sketch of the building by the two architects as well as their signatures, while the tail features an architectural detail of the building. The series, titled “Europa Star,” includes five coins in silver and gold representing €10, two €50, €200, and €1,000. Both numismatic and art fans may note a collector detail: The Centre Pompidou coins are the last to be pressed in the current Paris Mint at the Quai de Conti.