Germany

Curatorial Couch Surfing

Germany and France like to celebrate their relation as the mythical core of European history and politics. Adenauer & De Gaulle – a classic. Kohl & Mitterrand – the stuff political interpretations are made of. Merkel & Hollande – will turn into a beautiful friendship after the German election in September.

It seems like the personal chemistry between the state leaders has been more essential for the future of these two countries (and therefore for Europe, of course!) than any Realpolitik. Great Britain might sail away toward the United States. Italy might drift off to the global South: the felt temperature between the two arch enemies/friends decides on the felt fate of the civilized world.

The exchange of the French and the German pavilion in this year’s Venice Biennale follows this logic of anecdotical politics. A symbolic project driven by the foreign ministries. They pay for it, after all. And for the artists it is no problem to comply, they come from all over the world and probably don’t care too much about strange European rituals. At least for Anri Sala, who now gets to be in the German pavilion, it might even make sense. After moving from Albania first to Paris he now lives in Berlin. So the profane symbolism mirrors at least a European reality.

And we keep waiting for a real gesture, for the day when Germany hands over the keys to its pavilion to Pakistan or Kosovo, and France to Morocco or Libya. Wouldn’t this offer a much bigger chance to move beyond mere exploitation of already existing political alliances and actually create a truly different political narration?

Florian Malzacher and Joanna Warzsa

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Federal Foreign Office in collaboration with the Institute of Foreign Cultural Relations
Artists:
Ai Weiwei; Dayanita Singh; Romuald Karmakar; Santu Mofokeng
Curator:
Susanne Gaensheimer

Curator

Name:
Susanne Gaensheimer
Gender:
Female
Born:
Germany, 1967
Lives and works in:
Germany
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Ai Weiwei
Gender:
Male
Born:
China, 1957
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Artist

Name:
Dayanita Singh
Gender:
Female
Born:
India, 1961
Lives and works in:
India
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2
Represented by galleries in:
London

Artist

Name:
Romuald Karmakar
Gender:
Male
Born:
Germany, 1965
Lives and works in:
Germany
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Santu Mofokeng
Gender:
Male
Born:
South Africa, 1956
Lives and works in:
South Africa
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
2

Politics & Economics

State System:
Federal parliamentary republic
Ruling Political Party:
Grand coalition of the Christian Democratic Party, the Christian Social Union and the Social Democratic Party.
Population (World Bank, 2011):
81,797,673
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$44,021
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
5.9% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
$13,413,060,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$45,785,000,000

Alliances


G8
G20
International Criminal Court recognized
NATO
OECD
Former Warsaw Pact
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1871 (establishment of the German Empire)
Last Major Border Revision:
1991 (unification of Germany)
Colonial History:
Former colonial power
Former Colonies:
Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, parts of Botswana, Cameroon, Togo, German New Guinea, German Samoa
International Court of Justice cases:
7
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
86
Nuclear Force?
No
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean and Turkey. UN peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Darfur, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali and Sudan. ECOWAS mission in Senegal & Mali. EU anti-piracy mission.