For the 59th Biennale, Maria Eichhorn had the extraordinary idea of moving the entire German Pavilion to another location for the duration of the Biennale and then reassembling it at its original site after the Biennale. When she examined the structure of the pavilion for this undertaking, she discovered that it was not ONE building at all, but in fact, made up of two: the Bavarian Pavilion, built in 1909, and the extensions made by the Nazis in 1938, as can be seen today. While the Bavarian Pavilion was built on a human scale, the 1938 alterations to the main room and the adjoining room look intimidating and make the visitor feel small. Massive pillars replace the previous slender Ionic columns, and an additional 4 metres in height elevate the rooms to an oppressive size with a sacral atmosphere. Are these really spaces in which an open and critical reception of art is possible?
By excavating the foundations of the pavilion and removing layers of plaster from the walls to expose the connections between the previous structure and the remodelled building, Eichhorn exposes not only the history but also the ideologies manifested in architecture.
In addition to a vast photographic documentation of the project and numerous historical photographs, the publication brings together essays and studies on the history of the Biennale and the German Pavilion, as well as on broader aspects embracing art history, philosophy, urban sociology, and politics.
25 Juli, 2022