Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has appointed Franciska Zólyom, Director of the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig, as curator of the official German contribution to the 58th Venice Biennale 2019. The appointment was made following a recommendation by the Federal Foreign Office Art and Exhibitions Committee, whose members include art experts and directors of leading German art museums.
Following the appointment, Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement in Berlin today (23 January):
Franciska Zólyom is an outstanding curator who, given her achievements to date and her involvement in artistic co production and thus in a pro European understanding of art, transcends national borders. I am thus especially pleased that Franciska Zólyom will serve as curator and wish her every success.
Together with documenta in Kassel, the International Art Exhibition in Venice is the world’s most important exhibition of contemporary art. Every two years, artists and art aficionados from around the world meet to discover and discuss the latest trends in art. Germany will have its own national pavilion at the Biennale. The Biennale contribution in 2017, curated by Susanne Pfeffer and performed by Anne Imhof, was awarded the Golden Lion.
The Biennale in Venice is the only international art exhibition in which countries have a national pavilion to house their contribution. The German Pavilion, originally built as the Bavarian Pavilion in 1908, was given a major facelift in 1938 and a short while later presented to the German Empire. The property has been the responsibility of the Federal Foreign Office since 1950 and the Ministry also provides the German contribution with financial support as part of its cultural relations policy. The German contribution will be realised in cooperation with the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) in Stuttgart. The International Art Exhibition takes place every two years with the Venice Architecture Biennale being held in between at the same venue. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety is responsible for the latter. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Federal Foreign Office are working to create even more connections between the two Biennale contributions in future.
Franciska Zólyom has been director of the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst in Leipzig since 2012. Previously, she served as director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Dunaújváros, Hungary, among other things.