[artinfo] How to Make Biennials in Contemporary Times

e-artnow info at e-artnow.org
Mon Jul 21 11:02:19 CEST 2014

World Biennial Forum No 2: How to Make Biennials in Contemporary Times

Biennial Foundation, Fundacão Bienal de São Paulo and ICCo


<mailto:wbf2 at icco.art.br>wbf2 at icco.art.br
Julia Saleme
Phone: 55 11 3811-9264

Avenida Professor Fonseca Rodrigues, 1300
05461-010 São Paulo

The Forum will run alongside the 31st Bienal de 
São Paulo curated by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat, 
Nuria Enguita Mayo, Pablo Lafuente, Oren Sagiv, 
Benjamin Seroussi and Luiza Proenca who will also 
function as the Forum's Artistic Directors.

Organized by:
Biennial Foundation
Fundacão Bienal de São Paulo
ICCo - Instituto de Cultura Contemporânea

An initiative by Biennial Foundation

2014 has heralded what seems to be a reawakening 
of potential in international art biennials. From 
Istanbul to Sydney and Saint Petersburg, an 
exhibition form that was threatening to slide 
into neoliberal conformism has again become the 
site of conflict and controversy. While the 
dilemmas of each biennial has its own origins, 
these developments will, in general, bring a 
renewed engagement with the symbolic value of 
biennials and the ways they can be contested in 
public. It is in this spirit of questioning and 
provoking the concept of the biennial, that the 
World Biennial Forum No 2 has been assembled.

The World Biennial Forum No 2 will look at the 
biennial from the point of view of the southern 
hemisphere. It will concentrate above all on 
recent biennials in what has come to be termed 
the 'Global South', occasionally taking a broader 
perspective to investigate how we have arrived 
here. The main focus will be on the cities of 
Dakar, Istanbul, Jakarta and São Paulo, where the 
Forum takes place, but other southern biennials 
will also come into the picture. The four focus 
cities have been staging biennials in different 
forms for at least the past 20 years, during 
which time they have invented new traditions and 
created suitable structures to support and 
develop them. At a time when the relationship 
between artistic desire and political will is 
under negotiation more broadly, and biennials are 
seen simultaneously as both opportunities for 
harvesting cultural capital and threats to the 
smooth operation of the status quo, these 
biennials will serve as the anchor points for a 
more general discussion about what is the 
potential of biennials in contemporary times.

Following an evening keynote address by Peter 
Osborne (Professor of Modern European Philosophy 
and Director of the Centre for Research in Modern 
European Philosophy at Kingston University, 
London), looking at the nature of contemporaneity 
in art, four sessions will be held over two days. 
The four sessions are titled:

1. Once Again, as If for the First Time: 
archives, biennial memory and the balance between 
continuity and reinvention.
2. No More Imagined Communities: what comes after 
national art competitions and neoliberal city 
3. Popularity without Populism: education, ideology and exchange.
4. Works and Their Consequences: the role of art 
and artists and how both address the public.

These sessions will be open to the general 
public. In addition, workshops will be held for 
biennial representatives, and trips to other 
Brazilian cities and their museums will be 
organized on the last two days of the World 
Biennial Forum No 2.

Entrance to the World Biennial Forum No 2 is free 
of charge, but registration will be mandatory. 
The Pre-Registration for the WBF No 2 is now 
open. More detailed information on the 
registration procedure of the Forum can be found 

The Prince Claus Fund is offering ticket grants 
for art professionals interested in participating 
in World Biennial Forum No 2. The Ticket Fund is 
specifically intended for artists and cultural 
practitioners living in Latin America, Asia, 
Africa, the Caribbean, non-EU Balkans and non-EU 
Eastern Europe. For information regarding the 
application procedure, see 

For initial enquiries and press:

Biennial Foundation

Lisa Mazza: <mailto:lm at biennialfoundation.org>lm at biennialfoundation.org


ICCo - Instituto de Cultura Contemporânea

Julia Saleme: <mailto:wbf2 at icco.art.br>wbf2 at icco.art.br

Fundacão Bienal de São Paulo

More information about the Artinfo mailing list