Liam Gillick at the German Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale

Liam Gillick will be the artist presented at the German Pavilion during the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. The curator of the German Pavilion is Nicolaus Schafhausen, director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.

Liam Gillick lives and works in New York and London. The artist, who has produced much of his work in Germany, was early to address emergent post-socialist systems and new social models in Europe. His practice represents the ideal projection surface for contemporary art in the twenty-first century. His work operates on several levels of a multi-layered artworld. The theme of his work is the varied phenomena of social utopias that he stages via hypothetical social models, both visual and literary.

Nicolaus Schafhausen: “Through his need to play with the complexity of the contemporary terrain, Gillick has provided models of thought that are not merely binary. He has operated in parallel to known models of work – critic, designer and artist. And this has permitted him to provoke new questions without the necessity to offer simple solutions.”

Liam Gillick: “My work requires a critical terrain that is both sophisticated and skeptical. I view this as a continuation of an ongoing dialogue. The question will be how to produce rather than merely how to present. I operate in the gap between the trajectory of modernity and the modernist self-consciousness. The work is both contingent and specific.”

Liam Gillick and Nicolaus Schafhausen have been involved in a continuous dialogue since the end of the 1980s. Before the Biennale, between November 2008 and May 2009, the artist and curator will collaborate on a number of events that will take place in Germany, Europe and the United States.

In 2008 Liam Gillick has had solo exhibitions in Rotterdam, Zurich and Munich and has forthcoming group exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and The Guggenheim Museum in New York. Next year he will have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

The exhibition at the German Pavilion is commissioned by the German Foreign Ministry and will be realized together with the Institute of Foreign Affairs (ifa).

Duration of exhibition: 7th June until 22nd November 2009.


Liam Gillick: Five or Six
Edited by Nicolaus Schafhausen, Frankfurter Kunstverein and Caroline Schneider
2000, English/German, Sternberg Press
ISBN 978-0-9671802-6-7

Also see: Three perspectives and a short scenario, exhibition at Witte de With, 19 January – 24 March 2008.

The German Pavilion

EVA HUTTENLAUCH: Project Manager
KATHRIN LUZ: Press and Public Relations
NATASA RADOVIC: Venice Assistant
THOMAS HUESMANN, PAUL VAN GENNIP and WITTE DE WITH Center for Contemporary Art: Technical Realisation