2009 German Pavilion for the 53rd Venice Biennale Exhibition
There will be a cat that can speak. All the people of the town will be very proud of their speaking cat. People will come every day to hear what it has to say. It will be very cynical but never mean. It will see everything and understand it all. After a while people will only come on the weekends or drop by on the way home from work or school. During quiet times people will come and read all the newspapers to the cat or surf the Internet and find good stories aboutworld affairs that might be of interest. One morning it will rain. Things will have been very quiet in the world and the cat will have nothing to say. You might even think that the cat will be mildly depressed. A young boy and girl will come to see the cat on the way to school. This kind of thing will make the cat nervous. It will be sophisticated but it will betray its feelings through movements of its tail. The cat will like a degree of order. It will to call this “natural order” – something that will imply that people can be trusted to do the right thing. And coming to see the cat on the way to school will not always be the right thing to do because it will mean that the children will be late. But as we will find out, the cat will be mildly depressed, suffering from ennui and even bored by its role as the only talking cat in the whole world. The cat will want to know what is going on. Only by feeding it information will it be wise, interesting or even funny. But on this day it will have no new stories. It will hope that the children look on Google News or even Le Monde Diplomatique and feed its surprisingly agile brain. But the children will just stand in the doorway. They will be slightly scared of the talking cat. Something about it will make them nervous. Something deep down in their psyche will know that there is evil in this building. But they will like it when the cat coughs. The will find it very sweet when the cat laughs. But if the cat cries they will have nightmares for days – nasty nightmares that they won’t be able to control and that will come at the worst times. Nightmares that will wake them up and make them think of machines in deserts doing terrible things. So the children will just stand in the doorway. Not moving. And the cat will stay stuck on the top of the kitchen cabinets. The cat will not speak. The children will not speak. The cat will be in the kitchen and the children will be in the kitchen. To break the deadlock the cat will cough and shift its head. It will speak but unlike other cats, it will no longer smile.
“Well, what are you doing here?”
The cat will say. It won’t have spoken for a few days and whenever that happens it will have lost its accent and clarity and begun to speak with a cat accent. The children will hear something like,
“Wheel waa aaa yew doo eng eer.”
They will move closer. Hoping to hear more clearly.
“What did it say?” the girl will say to the boy….
“Something about wheels and danger” the boy will say.
“I don’t think it did.” The girl will say…
The cat will try to smile, but it will just screw up its face into an ugly grimace.
“I don’t like it”, the boy will say…
“I don’t like it”, the girl will say
“I don’t like you”, the cat will think.
“Please come and tell me something”, the cat will say.
The boy and the girl will move even closer. They will be curious to touch the cat’s fur and find out if it likes to be stroked. Once it starts to speak people will respect it more than love it. But they will all stop touching the cat. There will have been a point when it had been touched and loved and played with. But now all people will want to know is its position on the history of totalitarian architecture or the restriction of credit within the context of failed models of globalization.
On this particular morning, after all this rain and all this mild depression the cat will feel its catness flooding back. It will want someone to read to it but more than that it will want these children to play with it. The boy will hold out his hand towards the girl. She will take it in hers. They will walk very slowly up to the cat.
“Good morning speaking cat”, the girl will say, because she will be quite brave during complicated social situations.
“Morning”, the cat will say, trying hard now to win back its voice and speak as clearly as a human.
“If it’s not too much trouble”, the cat will say, “You could update me on world affairs. I would love it if you looked through some Internet news aggregators for me.”
The children will look confused. They won’t know what an aggregator is. This cat will have become a little pretentious over time.
“We were hoping you might tell us something”, the boy will say.
“We have no school today” the girl will lie.
The boy will look nervous. The cat will be wise and will know the school schedules.
The cat will know that school starts in five minutes and the children will definitely be late. But today of all days, it won’t care. It won’t mind if the children miss out on their lessons or their playtime. It won’t care if they miss lunch or free-time in the library. All it will care about is that someone is here on a dark day in a dark building. It will sniff. The breath of the children will be close. It will have learnt that human’s know that cat’s steal their breath. The cat will know that this is nonsense. It is buildings like this that steal people’s breath. Anyway. What’s wrong with borrowing some child’s breath for a while? All cats know that it smells sweet and is full of intelligence and goodness and fun.
It will take a deep surreptitious suck of the children’s breath and as they reel and swoon, glide and dream it will begin to tell them a true story about the wisdom of a kitchen cat….
Artist: Liam Gillick
Gillick is an artist based in New York. His work exposes the dysfunctional aspects of a modernist legacy in terms of abstraction and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus, and extends into structural rethinking of the exhibition as a form. He has produced a number of short films since the late 2000s which address the construction of the creative persona in light of the enduring mutability of the contemporary artist as a cultural figure. Margin Time (2012) The Heavenly Lagoon (2013) and Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick (2014). The book Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820 was published by Columbia University Press in March 2016. Gillick’s work has been included in numerous important exhibitions including documenta and the Venice, Berlin and Istanbul Biennales - representing Germany in 2009 in Venice. Solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate in London. Gillick’s work is held in many important public collections including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the last twenty five years Gillick has also been a prolific writer and critic of contemporary art – contributing to Artforum, October, Frieze and e-flux Journal. He is the author of a number of books including a volume of his selected critical writing. High profile public works include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner, Louise Lawler, Adam Pendleton and the band New Order, in a series of concerts in Manchester, Turin and Vienna.
Project Management: Eva Huttenlauch
Curator: Nicolaus Schafhausen
NO MATCHING PROJECTS
Tanea Hynes & Ethan Murphy. The Shape of Desire 2022 EXHIBITION
Tell me about yesterday tomorrow. A Book about the Future of the Past 2021 PUBLICATION
Curating contemporary art against the backdrop of a local context 2019 TEACHING
Heinz Frank. The Angle of the End Always Comes from Behind 2019 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2018: Ting-Jung Chen & Hui Ye. Keep Me Close To You 2018–2019 EXHIBITION
Olaf Nicolai. There Is No Place Before Arrival 2018 EXHIBITION
Ieva Epnere. On water, wind and faces of stone 2018 EXHIBITION
Guy Mees. The Weather is Quiet, Cool, and Soft 2018 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2017: Marlene Maier & Olena Newkryta: Everything a Hand Can't Take 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Florian Hecker. Hallucination, Perspective, Synthesis 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Publishing as an Artistic Toolbox: 1989-2017 2017–2018 EXHIBITION
Marlene Creates. To the Blast Hole Pond River 2017 EXHIBITION
Marcel Odenbach. Beweis zu nichts / Proof of Nothing 2017 EXHIBITION
Marcel Odenbach. Beweis zu nichts / Proof of Nothing 2018 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Margit Busch, Andrej Polukord 2016–2017 EXHIBITION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Margit Busch. IF—THEN—ELSE. Welcome to Transciency 2016 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2016: Andrej Polukord. The Sarcophagus 2016 PUBLICATION
Nathalie Du Pasquier. BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT 2016 EXHIBITION
Wilfrid Almendra. Light Boiled Like Liquid Soap 2016 EXHIBITION
Wilfrid Almendra. Light Boiled like Liquid Soap 2019 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Karina Mendreczky, Anastasiya Yarovenko 2015–2016 Exhibition
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Karina Mendreczky 2016 PUBLICATION
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2015: Anastasiya Yarovenko 2016 PUBLICATION
Charlemagne Palestine. GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandtttt 2015 Exhibition
Charlemagne Palestine. GesammttkkunnsttMeshuggahhLaandttttt 2016 PUBLICATION
Individual Stories. Collecting as Portrait and Methodology 2015 Exhibition
Individual Stories. Collecting as Portrait and Methodology 2016 PUBLICATION
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz. Future Light 2015 Exhibition
Function Follows Vision, Vision Follows Reality 2015 Exhibition
Flaka Haliti. Kosovo Pavilion for the 58th Biennial 2015 EXHIBITION
Pierre Bismuth. The Curator, the Lawyer and the Psychoanalyst 2015 Exhibition
Pierre Bismuth. Things I Remember I Have Done, But Don’t Remember Why I Did Them 2017 PUBLICATION
Tony Conrad. Two Degrees of Separation / Über zwei Ecken 2015 PUBLICATION
Gareth Long & Melton Barker. Kidnappers Foil 2014–2015 Exhibition
Kunsthalle Wien Prize 2014: Leander Schönweger. The Fog Disperses 2014 Exhibition
Leander Schönweger. Die Nebel lichten sich 2014 PUBLICATION
Hannah Rickards. Grey light. Left and right back, high up, two small windows 2014–2015 EXHIBITION
Isa Genzken. I’m Isa Genzken, The Only Female Fool 2014 Exhibition
Isa Genzken. I’m Isa Genzken, the Only Female Fool 2014 PUBLICATION
Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys. Das Wunder des Lebens (The Miracle of Life) 2014 Exhibition
Zin Taylor. The Story of Stripes and Dots 2013–2014 EXHIBITION
Zin Taylor. Lichen Voices/Stripes and Dots 2013 PUBLICATION
WWTBD – What Would Thomas Bernhard Do Festival 2013 EVENT
Act I: Beautiful from Every Point of View 2009–2010 EXHIBITION
John Kormeling. Dutch Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 2010 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. German Pavilion 53. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte La Biennale di Venezia 2009 2009 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. How are you going to behave? A kitchen cat speaks 2009 PUBLICATION
William Hunt. Tempting Fate, Swimming Alone 2008 EXHIBITION
Liam Gillick. Three perspectives and a short scenario 2008 EXHIBITION
Isa Genzken. Deutscher Pavillon 52. Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte La Biennale di Venezia 2009 2007 EXHIBITION
Die Frage des Tages / The Question of the Day 2007 PUBLICATION
Michael Beutler. nicht innen sondern außen – nicht drinnen, sondern draußen 2004–2005 EXHIBITION
Ars Viva 03/04. Film: Jeanne Faust and Omar Fast 2004 EXHIBITION
Adorno: The Possibility of the Impossible (Vol. II) 2003 PUBLICATION
Adorno: The Possibility of the Impossible (Vol. I) 2003 PUBLICATION
Gerard Byrne. Books, Magazines, and Newspapers 2003 PUBLICATION
Alex Morrison. Giving the Story a Treatment 2005 PUBLICATION
Stephen Prina: An Evening of 19th- and 20th- Century 2003 EXHIBITION
Marcel Odenbach. Even If The Driver May Be Different, The Truck Still Remains The Same 2002 EXHIBITION
Husain / Richter / Jensen. Lavawoche – Krustenwoche 2001 EXHIBITION
Christa Näher. Das Malwerk und das Schöne 2000–2001 EXHIBITION
Tulipomania Dotcom: A Critique of the New Economy 2000 EVENT
Stephen Prina. To the People of the City of Frankfurt 2000 EXHIBITION
Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij. After the Hunt 2000 PUBLICATION
Man muss ganz schön viel lernen um hier zu funktionieren 2000 EXHIBITION
Dorothea von Hantelmann. Der andere Schauplatz 1999 EVENT
Benutzeroberfläche Stadt. Performanzen für den Frankfurter Kunstverein 1999 EVENT