Kesselhaus Josephsohn
Galerie Felix Lehner AG
Kesselhaus Josephsohn
Galerie Felix Lehner AG

Venice Biennale 2013
Josephsohn in the Arsenal

June 01, 2013 to November 24, 2013

Massimiliano Gioni, this year’s curator, selected the title «Il Palazzo Enciclopedico» for the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale in the Arsenal and the Padiglione Centrale. With this title, he refers to the concept of an imaginary museum in which all worldly knowledge would be collected. This project, which was conceived by Marino Auriti in 1955, was, of course, never realized, but a model of it that was built by the artist is included in the exhibition. And the dream of capturing the world in its infinitely rich variety as one unit continues to govern the thinking and work of many artists. With this reference to an encyclopedic claim of art, what interests Gioni is not a systematic or rational conception of the world but rather subjectively and associatively grasping the world as a whole as shaped the Middle Ages, the Baroque period, and also the contemporary experience of knowledge: for Gioni, «Il Palazzo Enciclopedico» is an exhibition about obsessions and the transformative power of ideas – in the Arsenal, it is organized along the development from the natural to the artistic form.

Josephsohn’s work defines the third room in the long halls of the Arsenal with some dozen works from the last twenty years. In its characteristic language of forms of a high degree of abstraction, Josephsohn’s work also always and exclusively revolves around the sculpture-related problems of depicting human beings, around questions of references between volumes and their proportions, between delicately balanced and subjectively perceived equilibrium and tension. In the combination of the subtly developed and nevertheless nearly amorphous masses of the late large half-figures and reclining figures with the group of the geometrically reduced standing figures from the early nineteen-fifties, the great constancy in Josephsohn’s work comes into play with great power.

The half-figures, reclining figures, and standing figures of Josephsohn are combined in the exhibition with works by the Turkish visual artist Yüksel Arslan (born 1933) and large-format abstract paintings by Daniel Hesidence (USA, born 1975). The presence of Josephsohn’s works at the Venice Biennale 2013 came about in close cooperation between Hauser & Wirth and the Kesselhaus Josephsohn/Galerie Felix Lehner.

webpage La Biennale Venezia 2013

Press articles

September 2013
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh
The Entropic Encyclopedia

31st May 2013
Jackie Wullschlager
A Picasso for the Facebook age
Financial Times