The press conference of the 7th Berlin Biennale:
the case of presenting instead of exhibiting
The 7th Berlin Biennale curated (or shall we say “mobilized”) by the Polish artist Artur Zmijewski used from its start a religious-sounding, redemptive vocabulary. And no, it’s not anything near Joseph Beuys’ work, which has more complexity and irony in its little finger. A new word had to be invented for this Biennale – “under-complex”, a neologism created by the Berlin artist and critic Wolfgang Müller.
His criticism is the only substantial critique that has been written in Germany since the start of the 7th Berlin Biennale’s call for artists (for those who read German: http://jungle-world.com/artikel/2012/04/44765.html and http://www.jungewelt.de/2012/03-06/015.php). As such, it was not so wrong that the attention at the Biennale’s press conference was directed towards the responsibility of the journalists.
Let me first sketch the mise-en-scène of the event. The press conference was arranged as a kind of political meeting where the roles got reversed: not the organizers/curators were under scrutiny, but the press was. We were all sitting in a circle around the prominent figures of the event. There was no stage. That way there were, so it was stated in all earnest, no hierarchies between the VIP’s and the audience.
The rest of the “meeting” was, unfortunately, more of the same superficiality and naivety. AZ was mumbling but what I did understand was the following: his aim is “to create something that can survive the Biennale”. He refutes the lack of “solidarity” in the art world. Therefore he wants to establish a “situation where people feel solidarity and express solidarity. ”We were all moved to tears for a second. Yet, the “situation” changed radically when the “Movement” (that is AZ’ “comrades”), were asked to get the ball rolling.