fbpx Biennale Arte 2024 | Susanne Wenger
La Biennale di Venezia

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Susanne Wenger

Graz, Austria, 1915– 2009, Osogbo, Nigeria

  • TUE - SUN
    20/04 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 30/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    01/10 > 24/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Susanne Wenger was a sculptor, painter, and graphic designer who began art training in her native city and completed her studies in Vienna from 1933 to 1935. During her initiation into Yoruba cults in the 1950s and 1960s, Wenger began an immersive study of the various aesthetic repertoires associated with Yoruba religious rituals: batik dyeing, mural painting, and shrine sculpting. The works selected here represent her experimentation in àdìrẹ ẹlẹ́kọ, a Yoruba technique of resist-dyeing, in which a design is applied with a cassava-starch paste before the textile is immersed in indigo dye. Conventionally used for designing women’s wrappers, Wenger adapted the technique to produce large-format, hand-painted textile compositions, sometimes stitching several pieces of cloth together, as seen here. The angular figuration and the use of size to differentiate divine subjects from others is characteristic of Yoruba aesthetic principles, and as the titles of these six works suggest, Wenger’s batiks were inspired by Yoruba cosmology. However, her batik works were idiosyncratic rather than faithful representations of the pantheon, more representative of Wenger’s search for Jungian primordial archetypes.

This is the first time the work of Susanne Wenger is presented at Biennale Arte.

—Merve Fejzula

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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte