Gillick has transferred his own daily working environment – his kitchen used as an improvised studio – to the German Pavilion. Sitting for months in his kitchen with his son's cat he considered the question “Who speaks? To whom and with what authority?” while the cat tried to disrupt his work. After re-visiting the replica of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen at the Museum of Applied Art in Vienna – which has long been an important marker of applied modernism within Gillick's practice – he looked for a solution as to who should occupy his Venice kitchen.
For the final work Gillick – with his studio team in Berlin led by Thomas Huesmann – has created an animatronic cat that sits on top of one of the kitchen cabinets. The cat fights against the echo in the building and tells us a circular story of misrepresentation, misunderstanding and desire.
With this in mind the pavilion becomes a site for a self-conscious circling story that never ends. The cat is in the kitchen, the children are in the kitchen.
“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.
This catalogue, designed by Liam Gillick, with a foreword by Nicolaus Schafhausen, contains a full version of the public lectures given by the artist in Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne, the full speech of the cat and extensive photographic documentation of Gillick's work for the German Pavillon at the 53rd Venice Biennale (www.deutscher-pavillon.org).
After having studied at Goldsmiths College in London, Liam Gillick appeared on the English scene at the beginning of the 1990s, right in the middle of the YBA phenomenon. He has been noticed for his post-Conceptual practice, and his critical and curatorial engagement.
Winner in 1998 of the Paul Cassirer Kunstpreis in Berlin, and nominated in 2002 for the Turner Prize, his work has been widely presented in large exhibitions over the last ten years (Documenta, Venice Biennale, Manifesta, etc.). Respected for the rigor of the thinking developed in his work and writings, Liam Gillick's sculptures, installations, and textual pieces are also informed by a sharp visual sense of structural and formal material properties of the vocabulary he uses.