Under the Name Natascha SÃ¼der Happelmann, Natascha Sadr Haghighian Will Rep Germany at 2019 Venice Biennale
Natascha Sadr Haghighian, pssst Leopard 2A7+, 2013.
COURTESY KONIG GALERIE
It must be said that Germanâs pavilion at the Venice Biennale certainly has not been boring of late. In 2017, Anne Imhof took home the Golden Lion, the showâs top prize, for a thrilling performance piece called Faust, and in 2015, a few artists represented the country, including Hito Steyerl, whose immersive video work Factory of the Sun was one of the yearâs highlights.
Now the organizers of the German pavilion have announced that the country will be represented at the 2019 edition of the biennale by Natascha SÃ¼der Happelmann, for whom there are no records onlineâ"which is because that name is actually a pseudonym adopted by the relentlessly shape-shifting artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian.
Complicating matters a bit more, Happelmann has designated a Helene Duldung to serve as the spokesperson for her work. In the prepared text of a speech for the announcement, which was made today in Berlin, Duldung said, âOver a period of around thirty years, a collection of name variations has been accumulating in the artistâs memory and in other places. The different versions have arisen mainly as a result of misspelling and autocorrect when the artist was addressed by public authorities. . . . Following careful analysis of the variations available, a particular version of the name was selected.â
Haghighian, whose work takes the form of research-intensive sculptures and installations, often with incisive political underpinnings, introduced a website in 2004 called bioswop.net, which allows people to borrow elements of other peopleâs CVs. Those hunting for biographical informa tion on her will, not unsurprisingly, end up frustrated. Her Wikipedia entry, for instance, documents the conflicting information she has furnished about her birth: âborn Budapest, 1987 or Sachsenheim, 1968 or Australia, 1979 or Munich, 1979 or Tehran, 1967 or London, 1966 or Iran, 1953.â
One of Haghihhianâs best-known works is the Lego sculpture pssst Leopard 2A7+ (2013), which is the same size as the eponymous German tank and includes a sound recordingâ"accessible through headphonesâ"of the artist reading a variety of legal and documentary texts having to do with state-sanctioned forms of violence.
Alongside her independent practice, Haghighian cofounded the Society of Friends of Halit, which has worked to investigate the 2006 murder in Kassel, Germany, of 21-year-old Halit Yozgat, a son of Turkish immigrants. At Documenta 14 in the city last year, the Society presented investigative material in conjunction with other collectives linking the crime to a neo-Nazi group known as the National Socialist Underground.
The pavilionâs curator is Franciska ZoÌlyom, who has been director of the GfZK (Museum of Contemporary Art) Leipzig since 2012.
Information about the artistâs plans for the pavilion is scant for now. In her prepared remarks, Duldung said, âWe are sure you will understand that, at this juncture, we are unable to give you any further information concerning the presentation at the German Pavilion. In this respect, we must all be patient until May 2019.âSource: Google News Germany | Netizen 24 Germany