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 (Cittadella, 1935 – Verona, 2010) with the artist 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.

The American Avant-Garde Artist George Brecht (*New York 1926–Cologne 2008), a representative of the Fluxus movement, musician and scientist, was one of the originators of ‘participatory’ art, in which the artwork can only be experienced by the active involvement of the viewer. He described his own art as a way of “ensuring that the details of everyday life, the random constellations of objects that surround us, stop going unnoticed.”

Archivio Conz houses artworks, documents, editions and personal belongings collected and catalayzed by Francesco Conz, with a collection of more than 3000 items by over 150 artists that are now archived in Berlin. A part of the collection is the original piece “The Paradox T-shirt” by George Brecht. The direction of Archivio Conz and its curatorial program are nowadays managed by Stefania Palumbo and Gigiotto Del Vecchio, former owners and directors of Supportico Lopez gallery. After 15 years of successful activity, the two curators decided to dedicate their experimental spirit to the reconnection of the fundamental past artistic position with contemporary energies.

REIF, a porous platform founded 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 drives 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 conceptualist 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: The 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, organised by Carpenters Workshop Gallery.

During the following days the curatorial team of the 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 the “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.

Colliding on amongst others Katkoot bottles (Arabic word that originally referred to a small bird but then evolved within the language to describe something small and precious). Katkoot is the union of art and viticulture; two separate worlds united by a succession of emotions and ideas contained in every artesian bottle.

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. Here 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.

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.

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...