April 14, 2015

Konstfack at the Venice Biennale

Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design
Petra Bauer, Sisters! (film still), 2011. Photo and copyright: Petra Bauer.

Three artists with ties to Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and its research will be taking part in activities during the Venice Biennale 2015. Petra Bauer is contributing to the international exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor, Magnus Bärtås in the first Research Pavilion. Lina Selander will be representing Sweden in a separate exhibition at Arsenale.

With the 56th Venice Biennaleapproaching, the participating artists in this exhibition were announced by the curator and artistic director, Okwui Enwezor, who also presented this year’s theme: All the World’s Futures.

“It is with great pride and pleasure that we can announce that three of the Swedish artists exhibiting at the 2015 Venice Biennale have ties to Konstfack and will represent the school’s research efforts,” says Maria Lantz, Vice-Chancellor of Konstfack. She further adds that this prestigious display of work created within research projects show that research based upon art does not stand in opposition with good artistic work with relevance outside the Academy.

One of the three is Petra Bauer, artist, film maker and doctoral student at Konstfack’s department of Fine Art. Bauer is interested in film as a political tool and the role of moving images in the creation and telling of a story. Her work being presented at the prestigious international exhibition addresses the early socialist women’s movement in Sweden. She will also participate with another of her works.

“What fascinates me about the art of moving pictures is that they have collective and political potential—they can be political acts in themselves. The aim is to let my films participate in public debate as if they were ‘speaking participants’.” But what does participation mean? What are the conditions for it? Most importantly—who participates in what and where? “This is what my research is about—the politics of images, narrativity and production. As well as what it means to make moving images from a feminist perspective,” explains Petra Bauer who also wishes to mention her project co-workers at Konstfack’s Department of Fine Art, Svante Larsson and Nathalie Gabrielsson, Senior Lecture and student respectively.

Participating in the exhibition at the first Research Pavilion at Sala del Camino/Giudecca is Magnus Bärtås, writer, artist and professor of art at Konstfack, with his piece The Miracle in Tensta (Theoria). The piece has been made within the “Microhistories” research project at Konstfack, in which the form of the video essay is being studied. A distinctive facet of the video essay is that it latches onto the details of a phenomenon in order to illustrate how these details are one part of a larger context. This preoccupation with the small, marginalized stories with an approach within the field of history is known as microhistory. Included in this research project is artist Lina Selander, who will represent Sweden in a separate exhibition at Arsenale, arranged by Moderna Museet. Her piece included in the exhibition, Models of Continuation springs forth from “Microhistories,” in which Bärtås is the initiator and the Swedish Research Council the financier.

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