Pamela Rosenkranz by Anon Amphorn

Pamela Rosenkranz

Switzerland 1979

Installation, Sculpture, Digital Art

Pamela Rosenkranz
Pamela Rosenkranz
January 24, 2017
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Through painting, sculpture, and installation, informed by extensive research into fields ranging from marketing and medicine to philosophy and religion, Pamela Rosenkranz, a Swiss artist, addresses the fundamental questions about what it means to be human in today’s world. During the process of taking up the topics of contemporary issues and phenomena of everyday life, she adds a unique and personal touch, reducing them to absurdity using humorous turns, succinct and illogical short-circuits and poetic entanglements and at the same time cuts right to the chase. Often playing with narrative juxtaposition, Rosenkranz is known for using widely known commercial brands in her creation, for example, the exhibition The most important Body of Water is Yours is focused on the topic of water and built on the brand Evian.

view Pamela Rosenkranz use of video images for new york berlin exhibitions in 2012 2016 2017
Pamela Rosenkranz – Anemine, 2016, installation view at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York – image courtesy of Miguel Abreu Gallery

Art of Pamela Rosenkranz

Born in Uri, she completed her MFA at the Academy of Fine Art in Bern in 2004, and broaden her education by studying at the University of Zurich, Department of Comparative Literature, before enrolling into the Independent Residency Program at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Ever since her work was included in the 2013 show Speculations on Anonymous Materials at the Fridericianum in Kassel, it has been linked with Speculative Realism (without a fixed definition of the philosophical school, it could be said that it is concerned with understanding the relationship between people and objects – the material world – without reference to traditional humanistic ideas about subjectivity). On being labeled like this, the artist stated: “I try not to think about art in terms of the primacy of subjective interpretation, but to engage instead with the reality of materials beyond our affective engagement with them. Speculative Realism is a vague umbrella term and I don’t see my work as exemplary of it in a direct way. I am just interested in engaging with philosophers who incorporate contemporary ideas in their theories.”[1]

Pamela Rosenkranz tries not to think about art in terms of the primacy of subjective interpretation

contact new york berlin gallery for Pamela Rosenkranz use of 2012 video and images
Pamela Rosenkranz – Bow Human, 2009 – image courtesy of Karma International

Pamela Rosenkranz at the Venice Biennale

The artist was chosen to represent her country at the prestigious exhibition, and yet, consistent with the ideas behind her works, Rosenkranz said she represented no country, but rather: “I am interested in what it means to be human. How do we see? How does our biology, our history, our bodies affect our perception, our understanding of ourselves and the world?”[2] She filled the Swiss pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015 with an immersive installation that activates the knowledge mobilized in the technological, scientific and conceptual development of products, subverting the culturally consolidated meanings of art. The chosen materials – Viagra, bionin, evian, necrion, silicone – were familiar to viewers more for the esoteric promises that some of them are embedded with, than with the physical substances which they are actually composed of. However, their apparently pure and timeless aesthetic qualities they emit, have a biological basis. All encompassing, Rosenkranz’s work penetrated all parts of the Swiss pavilion’s architecture with smells and sounds. The synthetic sound of water, generated by a real time algorithm, reverberated throughout the atmosphere, while the scent of fresh baby emanated, invading all of the visitors’ senses.

The filled the Swiss pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015 with an immersive installation

Pamela Rosenkranz
Pamela Rosenkranz – Our Product, installation view at Venice Biennale 2015, Venice – photo credits Marc Asekhame, courtesy of Karma International

The Importance of Scientific Research

Construed as sharply critical, Rosenkranz’s work debunks certain ingrained notions about human life. She is interested in exploring how findings based on science can change popular conceptions of what it means to be a human. For example, the advances in neurosciences challenge the very understanding of identity, with new scientific research into the evolutionary history of the brain, we can understand the self not as a fixed entity but as an ever-changing process. She conducts her research mainly by reading online. Reading papers and books and having conversations is certainly great, but online research is the greatest resource, as it keeps up with the pace of the speculative investigation.

Pamela Rosenkranz lives and works in Zurich.


  1. Rosenmeyer A., In The Studio: Pamela Rosenkranz, Art in America [December 21,2016]
  2. Anonymous, The Venice Questionnaire 2015 #9: Pamela Rosenkranz, ArtReview [December 21,2016]

Featured image: Pamela Rosenkranz – portrait (detail) – photo credits Anon Amphorn, courtesy of Collezione da Tiffany

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Spatial Intervention, CisternaFondazione Prada, MilanoSolo
2016Pamela RosenkranzMiguel Abreu Gallery, New YorkSolo
2016Triennale Kleinplastik FellbachFellbachGroup
2016ICHSchirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, FrankfurtGroup
2016Dreaming Mirrors Dreaming ScreensSpruth Magers, BerlinGroup
2015Our ProductSwiss Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, VeniceSolo
2015No Man’s LandRubell Family Collection, MiamiGroup
20151,000 IslandsSimon Lee Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2015UnknownHannah Hoffman Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2015Co-Workers: Beyond DisasterBetonsalon, ParisGroup
2015Life. Within Such LimitsCarl Kostyal, StockholmGroup
2015Double TakeNature Morte, New DelhiGroup
2015Being ThingTreignac Projet, FranceGroup
2015Sprayed, Works from 1929 to 2015Gagosian Gallery, LondonGroup
2015Life. Within Such LimitsCarl Kostyal, StockholmGroup
2015Works from the Astrup Fearnley CollectionAstrup Fearnley Museet, OsloGroup
2015InhumanFridericianum, KasselGroup
2015Open Source: Art at the Eclipse of CapitalismGalerie Max Hetzler, Berlin - ParisGroup
2015Project 25-25-25Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen, DusseldorfGroup
201520 Years of Collecting: Between Discovery and InventionZubludowicz Collection, LondonGroup
2015Picture Ballot!: Monolithic WaterKunsthaus Zurich, ZurichGroup
2015Europe EuropeAstrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, NorwayGroup
2014My SexualityKarma International, ZurichSolo
2014Taipei BiennaleTaipei, TaiwanGroup
2014Private Settings. Art After InternetMuseum of Modern Art in Warsaw, PolandGroup
2014Blue TimesKunsthalle Wien, ViennaGroup
2014Beware Wet Paintcollaboration between ICA, London, and Fondazione Sandrett Re Rebaudengo (FSRR), Turin, ItalyGroup
2014Collection on DisplayMigros Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, ZurichGroup
2014The Prize of the Botticherstrasse in Bremen 2014Kunsthalle Bremen, GermanyGroup
2014Attention EconomyKunsthalle Wien, AustriaGroup
2014Brands – Concept-Affect-ModularitySALTS, Birsfelden, SwitzerlandGroup
2014okonomie der AufmerksamkeitKunsthalle Wien, AustriaGroup
2014IdiosynchronismDickinson Roundell, New YorkGroup
2014Brands – Concept-Affect-ModularitySALTS, Birsfelden-BaselGroup
2014Marrakech Biennial 5: Where are we now?MarrakechGroup
2014Elevation 1049GstaadGroup
2014LIQUOR STOREThe Paradise Garage, Venice, CAGroup
2014The Granite BlockOverduin & Co., Los Angeles, CAGroup
2013ContentV4ULT, BerlinSolo
2013Descartes’ DaughterSwiss Institute Contemporary Art, New YorkGroup
2013Speculations on Anonymous MaterialsFridericianum, KasselGroup
2013Expo 1 : New YorkMoMA PS1, New YorkGroup
2013Cherry PickingKarma International, ZurichGroup
2013Chat Jet: Painting Beyond The MediumKunstlerhaus, GrazGroup
2013HMVFoxy Production, New YorkGroup
2013Think First, Shoot LaterMuseum of Contemporary Art, ChicagoGroup
201355th International Art ExhibitionThe Encyclopedic Palace, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice Group
2012Feeding, Fleeing, Fighting, ReproductionKunsthalle Basel, BaselSolo
2012Because They Try to Bore HolesMiguel Abreu, New YorkSolo
2012In the HoloceneMIT List Visual Arts Center, CambridgeGroup
2012When Attitudes Became Form Become AttitudesCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San FranciscoGroup
2012Liverpool BiennialLiverpoolGroup
2012A Disagreeable ObjectSculpture Center, New YorkGroup
2012COSMIC LAUGHTERUrsula Blickle-Stiftung, Kraichtal-UnterowisheimGroup
2012How to Eclipse the LightWilkinson Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Positions on Conceptual ArtGalerie Rudiger Schottle, MunichGroup
2012Insight - Outsight IIStädtische Galerie im Park, ViersenGroup
2012Needles in the Camel’s EyeThomas Duncan Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2012Ghosts Before BreakfastWhite Flag Projects, St. LouisGroup
2012Context MessageZach Feuer, New YorkGroup
2012DeliquesceJonathan Viner, LondonGroup
2012Positions on Conceptual ArtGalerie Rudiger Schottle, MunichGroup
2011To you I would like to be WhoTongewolbe T25, IngolstadtSolo
2011This Is Not My Color - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, with Nikolas GambaroffSwiss Institute, New YorkSolo
2011He disappeared into complete silenceDe Hallen Haarlem, Haarlem, The NetherlandsGroup
2011Unbounding and Crossing Over as ArtKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2011The Confidence ManTanya Leighton Gallery, BerlinGroup
2011Open StudioRijksakademie, AmsterdamGroup
2011How to Work (More for) LessKunsthalle Basel, BaselGroup
2011How to WorkKunsthalle Basel, BaselGroup
2011Poste RestanteArtspeak, VancouverGroup
2011SEQUENCE 3Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York CityGroup
2011New York to London and Back: The Medium of ContingencyThomas Dane Gallery, LondonGroup
2011MassageAndrew Roth, New YorkGroup
2011The Confidence ManTanya Leighton, BerlinGroup
2010Untouched by ManKunstverein Braunschweig, BraunschweigSolo
2010No CoreCentre d’ Art Contemporain, GenevaSolo
2010The most Important Body of Water is YoursKarma International, ZurichSolo
2010Die Nase des MichelangeloGalerie Peter Kilchmann, ZurichGroup
2010Une Idee, une Forme, un Etre - Poesie-Politique du corporelMigrosmuseum fur Gegenwartskunst, ZurichGroup
2010The Real ThingTate Britain, LondonGroup
2010Big MinisMusee D’art contemporain, BordeauxGroup
2010Declaración Anual de Personas Morales 2010House of Gaga, MexicoGroup
2010Exhibition, ExhibitionCastello di Rivoli, TurinGroup
20103Rudiger Schottle Gallery, MunichGroup
2010FaxArt Museum Torrance, Torrance, CAGroup
2010Of Objects Fields and MirrorsKunsthaus Glarus, GlarusGroup
2010An Unpardonable SinCastillo-Corrales, Paris, FranceGroup
2010The Way We Do Art NowTanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Quick brown Fox and lazy DogKarma International, ZurichGroup
2010FaxPara-Site Art Space, Hong KongGroup
2009Our SunSwiss Institute, VeniceSolo
2009High PurityAmdenSolo
2009Infinite FoldRopac ParisGroup
2009FaxDrawing Center, New YorkGroup
2009Reduction and SuspenseKunstverein Bregenz, BregenzGroup
2009Event HorizonRaster, WarsawGroup
2009Arguments and ComplimentsNew Jerseyy, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2009Blank ComplexityKarma International at Parisa Kind, FrankfurtGroup
2009UnresolvedCastlefield Gallery, Manchester, UKGroup
2009Reduction and SuspenseKunstverein Bregenz, Bregenz, AustriaGroup
2009Shifting Identities - (Swiss) Art NowCAC, Vilnius, ItalyGroup
2008Unfade, Nuit BlancheCentre Culturel Suisse, ParisSolo
2008Art 40 Basel - Art StatementsKarma International, SwitzerlandSolo
2008Schwarze EckenKarma International at Micky Schubert, BerlinSolo
2008Dragged Down into LowercasePaul Klee Museum, BernGroup
2008Seven Types of AmbiguityStore, LondonGroup
2008Principle HopeManifesta7, RoveretoGroup
2008NoLeftoversKunsthalle Bern, BernGroup
2008Vertrautes TerrainZKM Karlsruhe, KarlsruheGroup
2008Shifting IdentitiesKunsthaus Zurich, ZurichGroup
2008When Things cast no ShadowFifth Berlin Biennale, Neue National Galerie, BerlinGroup
2008Empty CentresBolteLang, ZurichGroup
2008The Dark FairKarma International at Swiss Institute, New YorkGroup
2008Anxious ObjectStore, LondonGroup
2008Art cannot be UntaughtLa Rada, LocarnoGroup
2007Enter (Projectspace)Kunstmuseum ThunSolo
2007Pamela RosenkranzTaro Nasu Gallery, TokyoSolo
2007SOONTatjana Pieters, GentGroup
2007MemorySotteranei del’ Arte, Monte CarassoGroup
2007HELLOFlux Factory, New YorkGroup
2007Portrait SessionHiroshima Museum for Contemporary Art, HiroshimaGroup
2006TestStore, LondonSolo
2006Head over Heals and away, with Pavel BuechlerPublic Space, BernGroup