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“The Temperature Is Rising” – Jasper Sharp Reveals Details About Venice?

Why Mathias Poledna? “Because his work is boiling!” maintains this year’s commissioner of the Austrian pavilion Jasper Sharp. Shortly before the 55th Art Biennale opens its doors, Mathias Poledna’s work “A Village By The Sea” was shown in the Secession in Vienna… Watch the video to get in the right mood for Venice!

It was not a rehearsal for Venice but rather a lucky coincidence that one of Mathias Poledna’s works was shown in Vienna shortly before he will be presented at the 55th Art Biennale in Venice. At the well-frequented exhibition opening in the Secession in February, this year’s commissioner of the Austrian pavilion, Jasper Sharp, told us why he decided for Mathias Poledna: “Because his work is boiling!” Sharp knows Venice very well. From 1999 to 2005 the British curator and art historian worked for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Now he lives and works in Vienna. A few weeks ago he presented a book about the history of the Venice Biennale with a focus on the participation of Austria. For him it was always disappointing when he saw great artists who were in Venice 10 or 20 years too late. For Poledna it is the right time. He has a lot of institutional attention, and his work hasn’t been “cooked for 20 years”.

To see the Secession‘s big white exhibition room transformed into a black box was quite impressive. Black walls, black floor – even all the window panes in the ceiling have been replaced by black painted wood elements; complete darkness – like being inside a movie camera… Without any visual distraction the visitor could focus on a short but costly produced black and white movie directed by Mathias Poledna. “A Village By The Sea” refers to the tradition of 1930s musical films from Hollywood. Poledna is an artist who works very carefully. With his authenticity the movie looks perfect. We had the chance to talk to Poledna, but he is a perfectionist so he asked us not to publish the interview at the end.

What we can expect for Venice? We wait to be surprised.


Jasper Sharp, born 1975, is a British art historian and curator and this year’s commissioner of the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Since 2006 he has been living and working in Vienna. He is a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. From 1999 to 2005 he worked for the curatorial department at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Mathias Poledna, born 1965, is an Austrian artist whose work will be shown at this year’s Venice Biennale. He studied at the University of Applied Arts and the University of Vienna. Since 2000 he has been living and working in Los Angeles.

His work is represented in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New Museum, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), MUMOK, Vienna, and the Generali Foundation, Vienna.

Mathias Poledna is represented by Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne, Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna, as well as Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles.

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