Kunsthaus Bregenz will be celebrating its 25th year in 2022. For the anniversary KUB is planning an ambitious project: an exhibition in Venice. During the 2022 Biennale, an exhibition by Anna Boghiguian and Otobong Nkanga, two artists from KUB’s exhibition program, will be showing in a space that is being especially rented. The Scuola di San Pasquale, which dates back to the 16th century, has been used for charitable purposes as well as cultural activities. It is located adjacent to the Church of San Francesco della Vigna in the Campo of the same name.
The exhibition in Venice will be complementing the exhibition program in Bregenz. The two artists both address issues of political responsibility. Nkanga is currently showing a highly acclaimed exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz. A tree pierces all four floors of the building. An especially conceived tapestry likewise extends throughout the floors. On the lowest level, a mesmerizing, shimmering tapestry creates a deep sea vista, while the uppermost floor features one of a burning forest. The endangering of nature, but also efforts to preserve it, are made tangible in strikingly conceived spaces. Anna Boghiguian addresses social and political conflicts. On plywood silhouettes situated in the exhibition space, she paints harrowing scenes of people, crowds, and (hi)stories. For Kunsthaus Bregenz, Boghiguian is drawing attention to Aribert Heim, a Nazi criminal from Austria who was able to live undisturbed in Cairo, Boghiguian’s city of birth, until 1992. The motifs employed by the two artists are able to attain further levels of meaning within the historical context of Venice. The city, which was a catalyst for crusades and colonization, is at the same time located in a lagoon that is endangered by environmental damage, and not least an early protagonist in the fight against pandemics, being the source of the word quarantine, originally meaning 40 days of isolation.
Kunsthaus Bregenz is using the opportunity in Venice to present its outstanding exhibition history. The list of artists who have exhibited in Bregenz reads like a who’s who of contemporary art. Already in 2005, a legendary series of events about Kunsthaus Bregenz was being presented in New York. Artists from KUB’s exhibition program appeared on panels and in discussion groups, including such guests as Daniel Buren, Olafur Eliasson, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, Doug Aitken, Gerhard Merz, Anish Kapoor, and Santiago Sierra. A similar initiative to the one almost 20 years ago is now being planned for Venice. Artists selected from KUB’s exhibition program will be introduced in presentations, accompanied by outreach projects and panels, events and receptions. The occasion will be used to address issues that are currently highly relevant, such as post-colonialism, the climate crisis, the influence of the digital, gender, and last but not least the corona pandemic. The two artists representing Austria at the Biennale, Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl, who were exhibited in Bregenz during winter 2020/21, as well as selected artists such as Dora Budor, Jordan Wolfson, Peter Zumthor, and many others are also being invited to contribute.