The Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 explores the rich dialogue between art and politics, focusing on artworks that are both formally innovative and politically outspoken. It takes as its point of departure the work of the Cuban American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996). Gonzalez-Torres was deeply attuned to both the personal and the political, and also rigorously attentive to the formal aspects of artistic production, integrating high modernist, minimal, and conceptual references with themes of everyday life.
Rivane Neuenschwander is represented in the Biennial with a new work specially conceived for the site: At a Certain Distance (Public Barriers) (Istanbul) 2011. At a Certain Distance (Public Barriers) 2011 abstracts the forms of public or security barriers into an aesthetically beautiful installation that explores free movement and obstruction, serving as a complex metaphor for nature and elements of chance.
The work is a fence like structure, which is inspired by the improvised street furniture and barriers found in Brazil. In her 2010 exhibition At a Certain Distance at the Malmö Kunsthalle, Sweden, the work acted as an intervention in the exhibition space, weaving throughout the space and creating moments of interruption between different pieces. The absurd is referenced here as the fence is ultimately dysfunctional; unable to contain nor exclude due to its open ended installation. A gridded line made from wire and wood becomes the framing device from off-cuts taken from the exhibition production which have been painted in a cartoon-like array of colours. The work can be considered as both a sculpture and a three dimensional painting.