La Certosa

iIsland TrailInselpfadJWJan St. WernerVolumes InvertedRuin/RuineNLNicole L’HuillierEncuentrosMAMichael AkstallerScattered by the TreesJWJan St. WernerVolumes Inverted Lagoon/LaguneRL Robert LippokFeldLCLouis Chude-SokeiThresholdsLCLouis Chude-SokeiThresholds

Thresholds is the first exhibition from the German representation to leave the German Pavilion, the monumental and historically fraught building located in the Giardini. This outward step is not only a way of dealing with the totality of the fascist architecture of the National Socialist building, but also, at the same time, a signal against the nation-state orientation of the Biennale's garden. An Augustinian monastery was founded on the island in 1199 and, in 1424, the monastery and church were handed over to the Carthusians of Florence, who gave the island its name. Those who worked on the church, which was rebuilt in 1492, included Titian and Tintoretto. Under Napoleon the monks were forced to leave the island. It began to be used for military purposes as an ammunition depot, and in 1968 the barracks were emptied. The ruins of the monastery and numerous bunkers and ramparts still tell of the island’s eventful religious and military history.

Today, the island of La Certosa, as a park open to the public in the city of Venice, serves as a kind of antithesis to the walled territory of the countries representing themselves. Thresholds’ second exhibition space thus engages in a critical dialogue with both the pavilion and the Giardini. The monumentality of the building is contrasted with the immaterial medium of sound. Moving out of the building creates, in retrospect, a resonance that reverberates from La Certosa back towards the pavilion, turning this step-out into a step-in as well. In this context, the country-construct of the Giardini, and the pavilion itself, are subtly deconstructed. The works exhibited on La Certosa challenge our awareness of the present and the environment around us by opening up new spaces of experience and by drawing attention to everyday acoustic phenomena that seem banal at first listen. The noise of a ship, the wind in the trees, the sound of the waves, birds chirping and, in between, disconcerting and simultaneously harmonious compositions guide our movement and question our ways of listening. This is where a vision of a shared future begins: where we learn to listen to our fragile and wounded environment, to ourselves, and to each other.