The first-ever collaborative to represent the United States at the 2011 Venice Biennale, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla are best known for the geopolitical and cultural metaphors they’ve mined from daily life. In their most hypnotic performance work, Stop, Repair, Prepare, a pianist stands in a hole cut into the center of a vintage Bechstein grand piano and plays Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” (one of Hitler’s favorite songs and the anthem of the European Union) from inside the instrument while pushing it around a gallery with great effort. As with any longtime couple, there’s plenty of “conversation, discussion, and argumentation,” says Lisa Freiman, the Indianapolis Museum of Art curator heading up the U.S. Pavilion. Only in their case, she adds, “they argue with each other incessantly until they get to a point where they both agree. So it’s very productive.” Allora and Calzadilla are shown here installing Scale of Justice Carried by Shore Foam, 2010, part of a recent exhibition at the Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris.
Photographs: Gareth McConnell