Dutch entry 2001

Liza May Post Trying, 1998. Colour photograph mounted on aluminium. Dutch Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2001

Liza May Post & Post-Nature
Dutch entry 49th Venice Biennale

Curator: Jaap Guldemond
Commissioner: Mondriaan Foundation

In 2001 the Netherlands had a remarkable presence at the 49th Venice Biennale, with two exhibitions at two different sites in the city. Film, video and photographic works by Liza May Post were exhibited in the Dutch Pavilion in the Giardini. In addition, an ambitious group exhibition, Post-Nature, had been organized in the 17th-century Venetian palazzo Ca’ Zenobio, with the work of ten important artists from the Netherlands: Rob Johannesma, Job Koelewijn, Mark Manders, Aernout Mik, Liza May Post, Michael Raedecker, Frank van der Salm, Mike Tyler, Marijke van Warmerdam and Edwin Zwakman.

Liza May Post installation view, Post-Nature Ca’ Zenobio. Venice Biennale 2001. Photo: Peter Cox

Liza May Post – Rietveld Pavilion
Liza May Post’s presentation in the Dutch Pavilion included various film, video and photographic works that together formed a unified, large-scale installation. She had decided to rob the ordinarily light-filled pavilion designed by renowned Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld of as much natural light as possible, recreating it as a ‘nightlight pavilion’. The light had been filtered out so that the building would function as a kind of negative of the original, without losing the spatial experience or even the relationship with the outside world – the surrounding Biennale grounds.
Post’s oeuvre includes performances, film and video installations, and photographs, works that always entail an element of displacement and vulnerability. They are often theatrical stagings in which a Beckett-like subject is coupled with a sophisticated choice of image. Her work demonstrates a heightened sensitivity to framing, lighting, colour and expressive use of material.

Job Koelewijn Bonnet, 1992-1995 Colour photograph, cube covered with mirrors. Private collection. Venice Biennale 2001, Ca' Zenobio. Photo: Eric van den Boom

Post-Nature – Ca’ Zenobio
Curators: Marente Bloemheuvel and Jaap Guldemond
The desire to be in control of life is one that is probably something particular to humankind. Entreating, imagining, cursing or dreaming, this urge generates new ideas, new perspectives and new possibilities. Art, science, power and commerce are all driven by this desire. This is especially the case in the Netherlands, where the management of nature is a precondition for survival itself, and the landscape and ‘nature’ are almost entirely of human construction.
Now that we are discovering possibilities for ‘stacking’ landscapes, keeping thousands of pigs in apartment-like complexes, planning airports on water, constructing landscapes on the enormous roofs of public buildings, and cloning sheep, issues concerning the desire and the desirability to control and shape reality, play an important role in the current debate.

It were these notions of the possible and impossible that were to be found as a recurring theme, sometimes invisible or unutterable, in the presentation in the Venetian palazzo Ca’ Zenobio. The exhibition Post-Nature showed the work of ten important younger artists from the Netherlands. The 13 rooms of the stunning palazzo Ca’ Zenobio presented film and video works with manipulated images of nature, spatial installations that raised questions about the conditioning that regulates human behaviour, paintings that refered to both 17th-century Dutch landscapes and mediatized landscapes, photographic works that were imbued with a maquette-like quality or maquettes that conjured up the illusion that they were real, computer-generated landscape experiences, and kaleidoscopic enlargements of reality. Post-Nature offered a select overview of recent artistic developments in the Netherlands.

Michael Raedecker installation view, Post-Nature, Ca’ Zenobio. Venice Biennale 2001. Photo: Peter Cox

The exhibition was accompanied by the publication of two comprehensive volumes:
Liza May Post, with essays by Jaap Guldemond, Kate Bush and Adam Phillips. Published by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven / Nai Publishers, Rotterdam, 96 pages in full colour.
Post-Nature, including essays by Jaap Guldemond and Marente Bloemheuvel, Dirk van Weelden, Martin Herbert, Adam Szymczyk, Harm Lux, and others. Published by NAi Publishers, Rotterdam / Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 112 pages, full colour.

The exhibitions were organized on behalf of the Mondriaan Foundation in association with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.