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Maria Eichhorn. Photo: Jens Ziehe.

Maria Eichhorn to Represent Germany at 2022 Venice Biennale

Berlin-based conceptual artist Maria Eichhorn, whose work examines political, social, and economic systems, has been selected to represent Germany at the 2022 Venice Biennale. The selection was made by Ylmaz Dziewior, director of Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, who is curating the German Pavilion.

“Maria Eichhorn is the artist I have always wanted to see in the German Pavilion,” said Dziewior in a statement. “In my view there are few artists who address themselves to German history and its impact on the present in as multifaceted and intensive a manner.”

Born in Bamberg, Eichhorn has built a multifaceted practice that encompasses a wide range of media including video, wall texts, artists’ books, public billboards, and staged events and symposiums. Her work can veer into the esoteric, as in her 2016 solo show at London’s Chisenhale Gallery, for which she simply closed the nonprofit space and gave its staff five weeks’ paid leave. Her contribution to 2002’s Documenta 11 saw her founding a public limited company that was legally prevented from increasing its capital, and for 2017’s Documenta 14 she established the Rose Valland Institute, which continues to investigate and document the extradition of Europe’s Jewish population.

Eichhorn has said that her contribution to the 2022 Venice Biennale—which was pushed ahead a year to allow the Architecture Biennale, taking place in 2021 after being postponed due to the continuing Covid-19 crisis, to take place in its stead—will be “accessible” in nature. Speculation abounds as to whether the work will address the German Pavilion itself, a structure redesigned by the Nazis in 1938. Speaking with Dziewior about the project, Eichhorn acknowledged the challenges the pavilion, which she described as “symbolically charged,” presents, noting, “With every attempt at desconstruction you’re presented with that fact, but it also makes it fun.”

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