Philipp Kaiser, the former director of the the Museum Ludwig in Cologne who is now an independent curator and critic in Los Angeles, has been tapped to organize the Swiss Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, which organizes the presentation, made the announcement today, noting that Kaiser’s selection marks a change in the typical curatorial process for the pavilion:
While in previous years artists have been nominated to exhibit at the Swiss Pavilion, now the jury have chosen a curator to assume the responsibility for Switzerland’s National Participation at next year’s Venice Art Biennale.
Kaiser, who was born in Bern, Switzerland, in 1972, was curator for modern and contemporary art at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel from 2001 to 2007, the year he joined the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles as senior curator. In 2011, he was named director of the Museum Ludwig, a position he held from the fall of 2012 to December 2013, when he resigned. He now is at work on a show devoted to the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann at Los Angeles’s Getty Research Institute, which holds Szeemann’s library and archive.
Last year, Pamela Rosenkranz presented an impressive and hotly debated installation in the Swiss Pavilion that presented a large room filled with water dyed the color of the average Central European skin tone. It was titled Our Product and was curated by Susanne Pfeffer, the director of the Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany. Other artists who have represented Switzerland in Venice include Valentin Carron in 2013, Thomas Hirschhorn in 2011, and Silvia Bächli in 2009.