"PERSONAL STRUCTURES: Open Borders" at Palazzo Bembo

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Palazzo Bembo

Were you also wondering about the focus on sculpture at this year’s „PERSONAL STUCTURES“ Exhibit, which has been held parallel to the Venice Biennale for years? For the second article in our newsletter series we asked Rene Rietmeyer, Founder of the GAA Foundation and one of the three curators of the exhibit for a statement concerning the focus on sculpture and the cooperation with sculpture network.

Rene Rietmeyer responded: „In cooperation with the European Culture Centre, the GAA Foundation decided to present more sculpture pieces in Venice in the future since the Venice Biennale has neglected the significance of sculpture as an essential component of contemporary art in the past. In the course of this the GAA Foundation cooperated with sculpture network. This cooperation made it possible for 45 members of sculpture network to display their sculptures in Venice in 2017. After this successful start the GAA Foundation plans to further promote sculpture and hopes to be able to present more quality projects in regards to the Architecture Biennale in 2018.


In view of the intenser occupation with sculpture in the future, new and exciting opportunities will open up for sculptors over the next few years. Of the 45 sculpture network members chosen this year we are exhibiting 13 artists in the Palazzo Bembo. Along with all the other participating artists from various nations, they characteristically represent the title of this year’s exhibit: „open borders“.

On the one hand, this reflects the basic idea: as early as 2002 the objective of the exhibit was to bring to life an open platform for artists, architects and creatives of every age and nationality, in order to discuss the essential socially relevant questions of our time and to build a future together. In the years since the beginning of the proejct the world has experienced a unprecedented number of refugees, who are fleeing across borders from poverty and war in the hope of finding a better life. The social and cultural consequences of this create great challenges for many nations. „PERSONAL STRUCTURES: Open Borders“ is a joint declaration of all the participants to the public: artists from more than 50 countries define their position with the hopes and prospects that future generations will be able to live in the world as free citizens.

sculpture network members at Palazzo Bembo:

"PERSONAL STRUCTURES: open borders" at Palazzo Bembo, Riva del Carbon, 4793-4785, 30124 Venezia, Italy

Color space - Solar Yellow Medium / Imploding blue center

HC Berg

HC Berg’s optical installations do not leave the observer feeling indifferent. They occupy you physically - helping you to experience more about your own existence and subjective reality and evoking an intense, interactive dialogue with the environment. Light plays an elementary role in this: it is experienced concretely, however it remains intangible since we are not able to discover its true form.

"Raumobjekt 2090115"

Heinrich Bobst

Works by Heinrich Bobst demonstrate the span between the effortlessness of appearance and the difficulty of being. Depending on the viewing angle the colors change, plus the light of various times of day or year influence the appearance. This results in neither a true nor a false perception of reality or the truth. What is right, real or true is entirely up to the observer and not only depends on his standpoint, but also the exact moment in time.

„ZOOM Behind Thoughts“

Tatjana Busch

Tatjana Busch’s vision is to create an object that is physically present, but the nature of which is meaningless. „ZOOM Behind Thoughts“ is a step along the path to realize that vision. The light installation invites viewers to find a potential intuitive form that is expressed by light reflections. The beholder perceives light as part of the world that should be scrutinized and questioned: light is mysterious and, simultaneously, omnipresent. It is the source and basis of human life. Usually we don’t see it, we see with it.…


Monika Casutt

Monika Casutt spent many formative years in Tuscany: nature, the constantly changing landscape with its unending vastness, light and, above all, tranquility and times of loneliness. In these surroundings she began her artistic work. Since her childhood she has been interested in the artworks of ancient cultures. Their archaic power, their simplicity and their connection to a deeper reality repeatedly impress her anew. All of these forces are expressed in her sculptures.

„Pfeil 2"

Johann Feilacher

Johann Feilacher’s sculptures are defined by the creation of an imaginary tension in the surrounding air and the organic material. The rough hewing of the wood, partially burnt or brightly painted, testify to the various states of being, ranging from conspicuously bright and shiny to decay or destruction. Feilacher’s work „Pfeil 2“ (Arrow 2) is a chainsaw sculpture in still fresh poplar wood which was painted with the signal color red after the wood dried.

„Room for Reflection“

Sibyl Heijnen

Heijnen captures the room with her sculptures. Analoge to her multi-layered assemblies, „Room for Reflection“ manifests itself in a intensely meaningful relationship to the Palazzo Bembo and its history: the dark blue rectangle reminds us of a mirror, the forms partly covered in gold hint at golden brocade curtains, the animal hide reminds us of a hunting trophy. But the significance of the objects does not lie in their associations. They are merely food for thought for the observer. 

"Critical Mass"

Graham Hay

For this exhibit Hay constructed thousands of handmade porcelain pipes which he then formed into a 2.5 meter high structure. More than 2000 pipes are marked with the Internet address or the social media page of the Western Australian (WA) Artist Association. The pipes can be kept by visitors to the exhibition as souvenirs, as a champagne flute or in order to learn more about the artists of the WA . This process of partial disassembly of the sculpture is filmed and is played back next to what remains of the sculpture for the entire duration of the exhibit.

"if you want peace, don't talk about war"

Andrea Matheisen

Positive emotions are the predominant theme of Matheisen’s artistic work. The reduced representation of the human body serves to produce the feelings and dreams with just a few clear lines. The sculpture „wind beneath my wings“ demonstrates not only mutual dependency, but also the completion and enrichment a relationship brings. Just as the standing figure provides support, the floating figure can motivate the one who is rooted in place to let go internally. – It is a reciprocal giving and taking. 

"Vanity 1"

Montserrat Mesalles

With „Vanity I“ Mesalles wants to create a process of reconsideration of normal ideas of beauty and self-image. The raw and recycled materials - covered with scrapes and imperfections - are the perfect means to achieve this intention: they oppose the prevailing ideal of beauty and perfection. Because true beauty is not physical, but something that comes from within. From a place where our true and imperfect self is located.

"Tatlins trolley - closed"

Peter Rosman

The Tatlin Trolley transports pictures of workers from the Tatlin era, a time of steel and electricity. The trolley has moved from the past into the present. Tatlin’s Trolley of mixed media arrives in the middle of 8 ATM’s. In our modern landscape we are often greeted by ATM’s after a trip. Rosman’s deconstructed Cash Maschines can be understood as a negotiable goods, criticized for their monetary value or as a representative of art objects, which are now subject to market speculation just like stock.

"The viewpoint of Marco Polo"

Brigitte Spiegeler

True to her statement „The fewer visual elements an artist uses, the more important those used become.“ Spiegeler uses only two elements in „Fibonacci sequence“: a black and white photo, taken with a pin-hole camera and colored pigment. Her works deal with an imaginary time that only exists in our mind. The black and white photo suggests the past and remains vague, even timeless. In contrast the colored pigment appears to be freshly applied. Similar to caligraphy it can be ‘read’ vertically while the rest of the picture remains undisturbed.

Christiane Tureczek

Her works raise existential questions about the coexistence of people, animals and the environment and invite the viewer to engage in a discussion with the various cultural and historical pasts in order to gain knowledge to work jointly towards a respectful present and future. White is the dominant color in Christiane Tureczek’s works. In many cultures white symbolizes happiness, purity and immortality, yet it is also a symbol for mourning, old age, death and the connection to the underworld and the beyond.

"Krates von Theben"

Brigitte-Jutta Schaider

This sculpture is about the topics of human structure, the acquisiton of information and its implementation into the bio-cybernetic system of humans. "Crates of Thebes" is part of a sculpture series "Structures and their connection to Greek Philosophy“, which seems to draw a wide arch from times long past directly to the center of current events, giving them a special significance to express a viewpoint about these issues.

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