Germany_Switzerland Patrons Circle

Pauline Boudry, Renate Lorenz‘Swiss Pavillon at 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia’, 2019

Outset Germany_Switzerland is pleased to support the Swiss Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia which is curated by Ralph Rugoff and to donate a work of of the installation to the public collection of an institution.

At the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, artist duo Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz transformed the Swiss Pavilion into a vast immersive installation. Entitled «Moving Backwards», the project explores, in a time of massive backlash, resistance practices, combining guerrilla techniques, postmodern choreography and urban dance, as well as elements of queer underground culture.

Curator Charlotte Laubard, who is responsible for the Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2019, has invited artists Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz to present an installation, which includes a new video work. Entitled «Moving Backwards», the exhibition reflects on the current political situation, characterised by its regressive and reactionary forces of closure towards the other and towards difference. Faced with the scale of this recent backlash, the artists, instead of practicing an outright opposition, suggest «backward movements» as a potential tool for producing alternative forms of resistance and action.

Since the beginning of their collaboration in 2007, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz have been continuously reflecting on the visibility and the existence of the other beyond the binarisms and categories that define our identities. Through filming and staging their performances in installations, the artist duo seeks to reveal what, in the constructed and composite character of identities, can undo our stereotypical representations in order to consider new relationships and to invent new modes of coexistence. As Charlotte Laubard observes: «Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz conceive their installations as devices that lead us to renegotiate our representations. Their work produces a double inversion: it introduces gestures, images and objects that refer to current political and social issues. At the same time, it grants these elements a high degree of autonomy so that they can interact with the public and establish interrelations that challenge our modes of perception and identification.»

For the Biennale Arte 2019, the artists developed a large film installation involving performers Julie Cunningham, Werner Hirsch, Latifa Laâbissi, Marbles Jumbo Radio and Nach who experiments with backward movements. Invited to enter a dense choreography generated by body movements, film loops and animated objects, visitors will participate in strange encounters, in an environment reminiscent of a nightclub. Their physical and sensory experience will be complemented by moments of reflection on the Pavilion’s theme in the form of a free journal containing statements written by a dozen authors from the fields of philosophy, art, political activism, post-colonial and queer theories.

                                                           Venice, February
Dear visitor,
We do not feel represented by our governments and do not agree with decisions taken in our name. We witness European nations building giant walls and fences around borders that already didn’t seem useful in the first place, rejecting rescue ships at the harbors. Philosopher Achille Mbembe speaks of the “Society of Enmity.” Queer scholar José Esteban Munoz calls the here and now a “prison house.” People stop using gender neutral language and move from their polyamorous groups into traditional families. Hate speech not only seems acceptable, but becomes a motor of aggressively arresting us into what is considered a normal life. Do you sometimes feel as if you are massively being forced to movebackwards?

We have, of course, no recipe. But after taking a deep breath we are up for turning disadvantage into a tool:Let’s collectively move backwards.

Women of the Kurdish guerrillas wore their shoes the wrong
way round to walk from one place in the snowy mountains to
the other. This tactic saved their lives. It seems as if
you are walking backwards, but actually you are walking
forwards. Or the other way around.

Let’s take this story as a starting point for the project:
Can we use the tactical ambivalence of this movement as a
means of coming together, re-organizing our desires, and
finding ways of exercising freedoms? Can its feigned
backwardness even fight the notion of progress’s

We will move backwards and think about the ways in which we
wish to live with loved but also unloved others. We will
move backwards, because strange encounters might be a
pleasant starting point for something unforeseen to happen.

Yours, Renate and Pauline