Mitchell Anderson, Juan Antonio Olivares | Zurich Biennial | Kunsthalle Zurich

Zurich Biennial

group show


October 7, 2023 - January 21, 2024


The act of organising exhibitions, at its heart, is one of discovery and sharing. We share with an unknown audience; we share artists and individual artworks that we believe are thought provoking, and may be beautiful. We share with the belief that those works might have the same effect on others. 

From the start, this was an exhibition whose theme and reason to be was art. We live in a moment in which it seems as if the only option for group exhibitions is the thematic exhibition. This is false, and minimises the visual and conceptual impact of what is exhibited. Art is enough in its ambiguous anythingness. Art is not just a symptom. 

What happens when you look at art? When you select works you are drawn to? When you try to understand an artist's art making? You expect to end up with an arbitrary selection, but this is an illusion. You end up with a collection of voices that talk to you about the world in which we live. You discover a potential exhibition and choose a generic title like ‘Zurich Biennale’ to keep the voices independent, so that they can stand on their own two feet. 

Many options for the presentation of art are represented: some works are new productions created for the exhibition; others are existing works recontextualised here; there are historical works expressing a current vitality; and new works direct from the artists’ studios. This is a diverse and international collection of works framed by the place, the institution and the city in which it is exhibited. It is a biennial, across only 500m2 and a single room, reaching, as biennials do, around the world; it is a small, disparate fraction of the thrilling work across many media existing around us.

Yet, there is (at least) one common thing. We call it ‘windschief,’ or, to use a literal translation, warped by the wind. Many of the works in this exhibition use the language of exaggeration, the grotesque and caricature. They use a language of abrasion, both optimistic in its humour and pessimistic about the state of things. This shouldn't come as a surprise in a time obsessed with exposure, perfection, control and fear. The grotesque offers a way out, the exaggeration allows one to say ‘un-things’ while signaling self-awareness; caricature is a place of oblique truth and humour. Through a variety of media, the artists here mirror our world, telling the truth, but telling it slant, like Emily Dickinson urged. Architecture in particular is stripped of its practical roots throughout the show, in a variety of ways becoming aesthetic and sculptural, shaping one's movement as it is made redundant and non-functional. All these tropes seem appropriate in a time like ours.


Curated by Mitchell Anderson, artist and founder of Plymouth Rock, and Daniel Baumann, director of Kunsthalle Zurich



Osama Alrayyan  
Tolia Astakhishvili  
James Bantone 
Juan Barcia Mas & Shen He (Sexkino)
Mark Barker 
Sarah Benslimane  
Vittorio Brodmann 
Matt Browning 
Centre D’Editions Melbourne  
Tornike Chapodze
Anjesa Dellova
Nathalie du Pasquier  
Cédric Eisenring 
FitArt App
Madge Gill
Renee Gladman 
Rafik Greiss 
Raphael Hefti 
Hardy Hill 
Lonnie Holley 
David Hominal 
Brook Hsu 
Shamiran Istifan 
Lisa Jo 
Jean Katambayi Mukendi 
Miriam Laura Leonardi  
Shuang Li 
Lorenza Longhi 
Danny McDonald
Jasper Marsalis
Alexandra Metcalf
Daniel Moldoveanu
Sveta Mordovskaya 
Maurice Morel
Marianne Mueller  
Jonathan Okoronkwo
Juan Antonio Olivares  
Margit Palme 
Cora Pongracz  
Sophie Reinhold
Frode Felipe Schjelderup 
Leopold Strobl
Kelly Tissot  
Cassidy Toner  
Ilaria Vinci  
Dena Yago  
Bruno Zhu


For further information, please visit the website:

October 7, 2023
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