2017 Venice Biennale News

Erwin Wurm and Brigitte Kowanz to Rep Austria at 2017 Venice Biennale

Installation View of Erin Wurm's Narrow House, 2010, COURTESY LEHMANN MAUPIN

Installation view of Erin Wurm’s Narrow House, 2010.


Erwin Wurm and Brigette Kowanz have been tapped to represent their home country of Austria at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

The two artists will present separate projects in the shared space of the Hoffmann Pavilion, under the show title “Licht-Pavillon” (Light Pavilion).

Kowanz is known for using neon lights in her work. Wurm typically employs a tongue-in-cheek multidisciplinary approach to representing the human form and was last seen in Venice at the 2011 biennale.

For his 2011 installation “Narrow House,” Wurm constructed a cottage no wider than arm’s length in the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti. The surreal appearance of the compressed cottage is typical of Wurm’s fondness for inverting familiar objects in a way that challenges viewer’s perception of structures, both of the built and natural environment.

His work is included in permanent collections at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, Vienna’s Albertina, and the Guggenheim Museum, among others.

Last year Heimo Zobernig represented Austria at the biennial with a minimal architectural intervention, so 2017 is likely to be quite a change of pace.

Update, 2:30 p.m.: An earlier version of this post noted only Wurm’s inclusion. Brigette Kowanz has been selected as well.

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