2019 Venice Biennale

Renate Bertlmann Will Represent Austria at the 2019 Venice Biennale

Renate Bertlmann is headed to Venice.


For its pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, Austria has selected Renate Bertlmann, the dauntless feminist artist who is 75 this year. Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein will serve as curator of the pavilion, which will open to the public, along with the rest of the Venice Biennale, on May 11 next year.

Renate Bertlmann, EX VOTO, 1985.


“I am happy about my wonderful task to design the Austrian Pavilion in Venice,” Bertlmann said in a statement. “Radical contents and aesthetics and a willingness to take risks are the main pillars of my artistic work. My visions, which have carried me for 50 years, will therefore also find an authentic expression in this place.”

Bertlmann’s incisive work has tackled topics like the constraints that society places on women, sexism, phallocentrism, sexual violence, and pregnancy—all of which she has addressed with wit, élan, and no small amount of dark humor through film, performance, photography, painting, sculpture, and other mediums.

Long under-recognized, both in her home country and abroad, Bertlmann has been been the subject of—and appeared in—numerous major shows of late, and a monograph of her work, edited by Gabriele Schor and Jessica Morgan, was put out by Prestel in 2016.

Past artists to represent Austria include Erwin Wurm in 2017, Heimo Zobernig in 2015, and Mathias Poledna in 2013.

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