Since 1988, Luxembourg has regularly participated in one of the most important international contemporary art events: the Venice Biennale, one of the characteristics of which is the hosting of national pavilions, inherited from the model of 19th century International Exhibitions. The history of Luxembourg’s participation in the Venice Biennale reads like a veritable success story.
The first participations only offered Luxembourg’s artists limited exhibition conditions: confined to the Padiglione Italia, which at the time hosted countries without pavilions. Then, in 1995 what appeared to be an inextricable situation - the eviction of countries without pavilions from the Giardini, the main site for the Biennale - turned to Luxembourg’s advantage. Finally, in 2003 to everyone’s surprise, the Luxembourg pavilion, installed since 1999 in a 15th century building known as the Ca’ del Duca, was awarded the Golden Lion for best national participation.
The exhibition Atelier Luxembourg - The Venice Biennale Projects 1988-2011 retraces the exceptional development of the presence of a small country in this international contemporary art event. As far as possible, it reconstructs the artistic projects as they were displayed in Venice, with the original artworks and the necessary adaptations for their exhibition in a museum context. Presented are the projects by Patricia Lippert and Moritz Ney (1988), Marie-Paule Feiereisen (1990), Jean-Marie Biwer and Bertrand Ney (1993), the pavilion Potemkin Lock by Bert Theis (1995), a reinterpretation of the installation Magazzino by Luc Wolff (1997), Chewing and Folding in Venice by Simone Decker (1999), the installation Casa Mia by Doris Drescher (2001), the exhibition Air Conditioned by Su-Mei Tse (2003), Mondo Veneziano a movie by Antoine Prum (2005), the video installation Collision Zone by Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert (2009) and the installation Le Cercle fermé by Martine Feipel and Jean Bechameil (2011).
Because it was intimately linked to the space of the Ca’ del Duca itself, the project Endless Lust by Jill Mercedes (2007) is only presented in the exhibition in the form of documentation.
The various presentations are accompanied by archive documents and filmed interviews specially produced for the occasion, in which the artists cast a retrospective gaze on their Venetian experience. The considerable development of Luxembourg’s art scene over the last 25 years is indirectly reflected through the Biennales.
This exhibition is part of the framework of Atelier Luxembourg, an initiative including several exhibitions and projects focussed on artistic creativity in Luxembourg since 1945, developed in partnership with Casino Luxembourg - Forum d’art contemporain, the Centre national de l’audiovisuel (Dudelange), the Musée d’histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg, the Musée national d’histoire et d’art and Villa Vauban - Musée d’art de la Ville de Luxembourg.
Luxembourg’s 1956 participation in the Venice Biennale is currently on display at the Musée national d’histoire et d’art in Luxembourg (21/09/2012 - 20/01/2013).