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Austrian Pavilion at Venice Biennale
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Austrian Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Picture of Marinel Valentini
Updated: 27 January 2016
The artistic partnership between British curator Joseph Sharp and Austrian artist Mathias Poledna is but one example of outstanding international collaboration, an increasingly common trend at the Venice Biennale. Starting on the 1st of June, Austria’s pavilion will showcase a new cinematic installation by Mathias Poledna who has garnered widespread praise for his highly aesthetic short films.

Film as a new expressive medium within the sphere contemporary art is a particular attribute of Mathias Poledna’s practice and one of the reasons he was selected to represent Austria at the 55th edition of the Venice Biennale. The Viennese artist, known in the contemporary art scene for his elaborate and highly aesthetic short films, will present new original film work within the Austrian Pavilion. The 2013 pavilion is commissioned and curated by British-born Jasper Sharp, the current adjunct curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.


Mathias Poledna is an artist whose primary means of expression is film, a language he subsequently combines with other artistic media, such as architecture and design, in order to create complex cinematic installations. His short films, conceived and directed by the artist himself, often imply a tension between image and sound, giving visual form to the intricate relationship between audio (or non-audio in some cases) and cinematic language. Through his works, Poledna aims to carry out visual investigations of definitive cultural of the 20th century. His works include Actualité (2001), a 16-mm film showing actors playing the part of post-punk musicians of the late 1970s, and Western Recording (2003), a 16-mm film that represents an unusual moment of music history: the recording of a young man rehearsing Harry Nilsson’s 1969 song City Life.


Poledna’s solo exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale follows from his involvement at the recent 2013 Vienna Secession exhibition, where his evocative short film A Village by the Sea (2011) was projected within the Secession’s main room. The 35-mm short film was shot in a black-and-white musical format reminiscent of the cinematic styles of the 1930s. The film’s theme song, based on Que reste-t-il de nos amours? by Léo Chauliac and Charles Trenet, was an adaptation by Poledna with new arrangements and additional lyrics.


This year’s participation marks Austria’s 53rd involvement in the Biennale’s 110-year old history, having missed only two editions in the past, in 1901 and in 1942.


Austria Team

Artist: Mathias Poledna

Commissioner/Curator: Jasper Sharp

Venue: Austrian Pavilion at Giardini


About The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Project

The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1 June – 24 November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. With 88 countries participating in this year’s Biennale — 10 of them for the first time — and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch this space for our daily Venice Biennale updates or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!


By Marinel Valentini