PIZZA PAVILION — PIZZA AS CULTURAL CANVAS
Pizza seems to be a universal, omnipresent, truly globalized concept – a cultural fact that exists in both the digital and the non-digital (if this separartion still exists) – and is a huge canvas for cultural expression that leaves space for manifold projections. Pizza is like polaroids back in the days – instantly available. It conveys many histories and ideas, ideologies, fears and opportunities and in sliced version it is the private embedded in the public. It is the prototype of prefabrication and decentralization. Its key ingredient – cheese – is glue for friendship in a foucauldian sense. Pizza serves as both symbolic hub and social equalizer. It is the dinner of the hearts, pure positivness and the true common denominator. With its many variants Pizza is the Internet of foods.
Pizza is the super meme of our time. It has made itself independent from its purpose and parted from its sole being food-of-this-time. It has deliberately left its history and direct points of reference. In its new – neutral – self, it appears as entity beyond its heritage. By emptying out itself from the weight of culture and history, it has become something new, something more meaningful, it has become a force that binds our longing, hopes, escapes and reconnects us via pure idea.
In its internet presence it is seemingly purely conceptual and in its multidirectional omnipotence also entirely virtual. When this ‚entity‘ (Pizza Meme) is transferred back to the authentic situation of its former natural habitat (Pizzeria), the real and the virtual clash in a hyperreal situation (Pizza Pavilion). A purely artificial force is mapped onto its pre-conceptual self and embedded in the authenticity of a traditional craft. The digital and the non-digital merge in a shared physical real.
PIZZA PAVILION is a site-specific situation piece reflecting on ideas and paradigms of our contemporary lives. It is a practical philosophical endeavor that turns the working local pizzeria ‚Pizza Al Volo‘ into an international Pavilion during the Venice Biennale #56. A list of international artists were invited to create their very personal pizza-topping ideas that are realized by the pizzeria´s bakers and served on-site. From May 7 to Nov. 22 visitors can choose pizzas composed and titled by 19 artists of a so-called post-digital generation.
While it is popular practice among art institutions to transfer worldly phenomena and problems to the sphere of art – with often enormous monetary and logistic effort – in order to stear up exemplary, sometimes also aesthetic, political debates on contemporary life, PIZZA PAVILION follows an opposite approach: It applies artistic strategies to an everyday situation and aims to re-examine our contemporary lives and concepts of society on-site with a minimum of gesture and effort.
PIZZA PAVILION uses the existing infrastructure of a local pizzeria in order to create a self-maintaining and sustainable Biennale Pavilion. The pizzeria continues to run as usual. Next to the regular choices, PIZZA PAVILION offers a special menu announcing the participating artist and their pizza designs. PIZZA PAVILION turns a pizzeria into a studio and gallery. Production, display, reception and elimination become one long move. Visitors witness the creation of contemporary „artworks” and can buy and consume them directly. Creativity and routine are at work in midst the dust of flour, tomatoes, the paddle and the oven. The long-lost positive aspects of production are felt directly and production and purchase fill with pleasure.
In an IT-logic PIZZA PAVILION is an add-on to a functioning pizzeria. It rewrites only the necessary parts of code in order to add a new function to its original program. Where add-blockers disable advertising from annoying your online strolls, PIZZA PAVILION maps a relational concept onto the authentic pizzeria experience: an extraordinary art experience – fully edible artworks, fresh made on-site for regular prices as part of the Biennale super art show.
Other than regular Biennale Pavilions, PIZZA PAVILION refrains from a special physical appearance and remains in the shape of an authentic pizzeria. Unidentifiable for the average hungry tourist. A hidden venue of art. The artworks basically dive into an authentic situation and make it seem as if it is their natural habitat.
PIZZA PAVILION cannot be understood as simple revival of Bauhaus experiments – thinking of TELEFONZEICHNUNGEN by Moholy-Nagy for example – or the devision of idea and idea realization in the works of conceptual art of the 50/60s that has catapulted all of us in what is our post-conceptual contemporary. PIZZA PAVILION instead uses existing structures and creative and crafting routines and makes them a vehicle for an ever evolving new meaning which goes beyond the rather limited logic of art.
„When entire sections of our existence spiral into abstraction as a result of economic globalization, when the basic functions of our daily lives are slowly transformed into products of consumption (including human relations, which are becoming a full-fledged industrial concern), it seems highly logical that artists might seek to rematerialize these functions and processes, to give shape to what is disappearing before our eyes.“ (N. Bourriaud)
„I love you more than Pizza“ seems the most romantic thing to say.
(by Konstanze Schütze, 2015)