May 07–11, 2019
“The Paradox T-Shirt”, Paradox, Venice Biennale, 2019
“The Paradox T-Shirt”, Paradox, Venice Biennale, 2019


Let us offer you some contradictory gestures to unmask the counterfeit of each ideological scheme.
The Paradox of alienation and estrangement.
The Paradox of space and time.The Paradox of Eros & Death.
The Paradox of identity.
The Paradox of a lie so sincere it becomes a truth untold.
The Paradox of the malleable grid in between reality and action.
The Paradox of all questions unanswered, riddles unsolved, of all the lovers of all the parallel dimensions never encountered.
Verfremdungseffekt, BEWILDERMENT.
Questions answered with questions posed.
The night that becomes the day that becomes the day that becomes—the night.

For PARADOX 7/11 Archivio Conz, Filip Berg and REIF came together to reproduce George Brecht’s “The Paradox T-shirt” originally manufactured by the Italian collector Francesco Conz as part of his unique editions project the Edizioni Conz in 1989. The copies were distributed and set in sceneries throughout Venice during the opening days of the Venice Biennale between the 7th and 11th of May 2019 and beyond.

George Brecht (1926 New York City, New York, USA – 2008 Cologne, Germany), born George Ellis MacDiarmid, was an American avant-garde composer and artist whose work contributed to Fluxus as a chance-based art practice focused on participation. Between 1958 and 1959, Brecht took courses with John Cage at The New School for Social Research in New York and began to define the “Event Score” format: brief, deliberately open-ended instructions for elementary actions and everyday tasks. During this time, he established a close friendship with Robert Watts and Allan Kaprow. With Watts, Brecht organized the prominent Yam Festival (1962–63), a proto-Fluxus festival based entirely on small cards featuring written instructions distributed and consequently activated by artists such as Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Dick Higgins, and Al Hansen. The event scores incorporate the quintessence of Fluxus. Drip Music (1959–62) was included in countless Fluxus festivals and events, such as Festspiele Neuester Musik in Wiesbaden (1962) and the Festum Fluxorum Fluxus in Düsseldorf (1963). The indeterminacy of the score leaves room for radically different interpretations each time the piece is performed and references Brecht’s interest in the sound produced by non-musical objects. Brecht’s work was included in many of the various “Fluxkits” and publications edited by George Maciunas, who was likewise responsible for the conception of the milestone Fluxus edition Water Yam (1963). Brecht took part in two editions of the documenta (1972, 1977) and realized three sculptures titled VOID for the Skulptur Projekte Münster (1987). Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Kunsthalle Bern (1978), the Museum Ludwig in Cologne (2005), and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) (2005). In 2006, he received the Kunstpreis Berlin, and his works are now part of countless international collections.

REIF is a porous platform founded by Marcelo Alcaide and Isabel Lewis, a breathing lung, an entity that constantly absorbs new oxygen, open to embedding inspirations and contributions from diverse places that expands out through Berlin, Paris, Sâo Paulo, Porto, Santo Domingo, Milan, and Los Angeles. Engaging different experimental practices, REIF instigates activations, interventions, and social actions. Music in a range of contemporary electronic music styles that are heavy, harsh, dark, and also celebratory drive the energy behind the intense physicality of dancing together as a form of political assembly that then moves into focused channels of concrete action beyond the dance floor.

Filip Berg is a conceptual artist working in, and on, creating a space between products, art and people. The re-printing of a ‘fake’ “The Paradox T-Shirt” was to bring the work alive by creating a sort of real life “Where is Wally?” performance at this year's Venice Biennale, having both the real and fake piece present, extending the ‘anti’ thoughts of Fluxus movement and Brecht, questioning the paradox of life and death, art and fashion, to be or not to be, real and fake; the paradox of an honest lie. Like a riddle without a solution, to break the spell and find an answer to the paradox, would be like a night without day. The answer seems that it must be somewhere in between: to be the paradox itself.


May 7th: PARADOX took off with a reception at Galleria Giorgio Franchetti alla Ca’ d’Oro in the context of Michèle Lamy’s participation in the group show Dysfunctional, organized by Carpenters Workshop Gallery. During the following days the curatorial team of Archivio Conz and their collaborators distributed the “The Paradox T-shirt” around Venice to people on the streets, at souvenir stands, and also in different settings, weaving a playful continuum of Brecht’s attention to the details of everyday life, letting the audience discover the ‘Paradox’ again and again. With a special participation of Douglas Gordon the first moves of PARADOX 7/11 took place. As part of the project, another paradox inspired by Brecht was “Mouth to Mouth”: a sticker that Gordon designed for a series of appropriations that happened by applying the label on existing wine bottles.

On May 11th, a performance walk by Isabel Lewis took the audience from the Salon Suisse at Accademia of Belli Arti where she has presented Urban Flourishing, to a celebration of All Paradox at the Bauer Palazzo with performances and happenings taking over the Venetian emblematic landmark. Artists such as Vava Dudu, Cibelle Cavali Bastos and Matilde Cerruti Quara presented performances in the famous ballroom. Culminating in an evening where guests and goers circulated from every corner of the hotel, creating a social choreography that is a remark of REIF act in spaces, ending with the celebration at B Bar that welcomed Gigiotto Von Alt, Isaac Ferry and Esben Weile.

Archivio Conz and REIF.LIFE featured George Brecht, Filip Berg, Marcelo Alcaide, Matilde Cerruti Quara, Vava Dudu, Douglas Gordon, Isabel Lewis, Stefania Palumno, Yael Salomonoqitz, Olympia Scarry, Jeppe Ugelvig, Gigiotto von Alt, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, AVAF, Christophe Hamaide Pierson, Giovanni Leonardo Bassan, Esben Weile, Michèle Lamy. Special thanks to Michèle Lamy, Shirin Marquart, Dani Morla, Giovanni Leonardo Bassan, Katkoot Italia, Bauer Palazzo Hotel, Ca d’Oro, CWG, Casa Dani, Galeria Giorgio Franchetti, Janet Fishgrund, and Douglas Gordon.