福居伸宏 Nobuhiro Fukui https://fknb291.info/

A conversation with Harald Szeemann

Failure as a poetic dimension. A conversation with Harald Szeemann
Jan Winkelmann

Harald Szeemann, charismatic tower of strength in the exhibition business and prototype of the independent curator, is this year responsible for the second time in succession for the international exhibition at the Venice Biennale. As the founder of Aperto in 1980, which did not take place in 1995, he merged this show with the international exhibition in 1999, calling it "dAPERTutto". By presenting of a large number of younger artists he succeeded in breathing new life into the rather worn-out international exhibition in the Italian Pavilion. This year too he is combining historical heavyweights like Beuys, Serra and Richter with work from a younger generation. "Plateau of Humankind" is offering no ordinary state of affairs, however. Szeemann typifies the exhibition simply as a collection of artworks to be looked at. The presentation as a whole provides insight into the passions, behaviour patterns and ways of seeing that all people share in equal measure.

The nice thing about utopias is precisely that they fail. For me failure is a poetic dimension of art. I'm not talking about a protest against political relations, but about allowing a fiasco to actually take place. A good example of this, I always think, is Richard Serra's video Hand Catching Lead from 1969. It makes no difference at all whether the hand catches the piece of lead or not. It's purely a sculptural gesture, the failure itself becomes a wonderful story. I've been interested in the idea of failure for a very long time, for example in the Monte Veritá exhibition about a utopia from the Twenties that was never realised. The exhibition itself, however, gave the impression that this ideal community on Mount Veritá in Switzerland had actually existed. This was because we were able to show everything simultaneously, the utopia, the anarchy and everything that happened around it.


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