8th Berlin Biennale For Contemporary Art

29.5. – 3.8.2014

Curated by Juan A. Gaitán

 

On Sunday, August 3, 2014, the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art came to a close after a successful two-month run with a wide range of responses. 75.000 people visited the exhibition during the whole running time. Especially the venues in Berlin’s Southwest were well received by the audience.

 

Monika Grütters, German Minister of State for Culture and the Media, opened the 8th Berlin Biennale, which is notably funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), on May 28, 2014 at Museen Dahlem – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in presence of numerous embassadors and cultural politicians,among them the Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs of Berlin Tim Renner.

 

With this Berlin Biennale, the curator, Juan A. Gaitán, wanted to keep the curatorial approach to Berlin on a tentative level, while focusing on the unstable relationship between experienced history and scientific historiography. Thus, this edition focussed on the artwork as a propositional gesture that offers different readings of history and the mechanisms of its current representation.

 

58 artists from all over the world were invited to mark and investigate history and its fragments. The exhibition referred to the historization that can be noticed in Berlin and in other cities. Berlin can be considered representative for a larger tendency of incorporating biased historical narratives in the contemporary city, through its architecture, urban planning, monuments, and spatial distribution of tourism, commerce, and cultural capital.

 

The Berlin Biennale has the continuous ambition to examine the parameters of the city of Berlin. Heightened urban centrality and rapid socio-political and municipal recreation of Berlin’s inner city lead this edition of the Berlin Biennale to stir away from Berlin Mitte towards the art and culture institutions Museen Dahlem and Haus am Waldsee. This curatorial decision bridged KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin Mitte, Berlin Biennale’s traditional venue, by drawing renewed attention on these significant places of cultural production that waned attention in the course of the political and geographic redefinition of Berlin. The works of the 8th Berlin Biennale were exhibited in already existing cultural institutions,also because this strengthened Berlin’s present cultural infrastructure and brought these practices to the attention to a broader spectrum citizens as well as visitors of the city. Several artists used this as occasion to deal with institutions directly by intervening with and reacting to their approach to collections and forms of presentation.

 

In the preparations for the 8th Berlin Biennale Juan A. Gaitán invited Tarek Atoui, Natasha Ginwala, Catalina Lozano, Mariana Munguía, Olaf Nicolai, and Danh Vo into his Artistic Team. Its members not only worked alongside Juan Gaitán in conceiving the 8th Berlin Biennale but also developed their own projects: Tarek Atoui, Olaf Nicolai, and Danh Vo exhibited their own practice and Natasha Ginwala presented her research project Double Lives. Mariana Munguía’s publication Excursus – produced in collaboration with Maricris Herrera – assembled a selection of visual contributions from all participating artists and Catalina Lozano developed a program of events at the Crash Pad c/o KW. Additionally, each member of the Artistic Team made a contribution to the shortguide.

 

The Crash Pad, a room installation with a library conceived by Andreas Angelidakis at KW’s front house, opened already in January 2014 as the first venue of the 8th Berlin Biennale. Throughout the duration of the Berlin Biennale – inspired by the idea of a 19th century salon – it offered an intimate location for half public, half private cultural and discursive events, discussions, and other forms of exchange.

 

Two other artistic statements provided a forecast to this edition’s direction: Agatha Gothe-Snape created slogans as a pseudo copywriter for the splash page and print products of the 8th Berlin Biennale and Zachary Cahill's exhibition USSA Wellness Center explored the intersections of art therapy and the idea of “wellness” in times of the worldwide financial collapse for three days in May 2014 at KW.

 

The 8th Berlin Biennale was accompanied by a total of 50 events and over 87 artists and cultural producers dispersed through out all venues. Many of the events took place at Crash Pad c/o KW and included lectures, talks, concerts, screenings, performances, and dinner lectures. Among other things, writer Beatriz Colomina presented her book Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies together with Nikolaus Hirsch; architecture historian Spyros Papapetros hold a conversation with artist Olaf Nicolai. Artist Pedro G. Romero gave a cultural-historical presentation on Flamenco, overlaid with intermittent musical interventions.

 

At the Museen Dahlem site-specific events such as the Dahlem Sessions, a concert series conceived by Tarek Atoui, and a performance on the opening night by Danh Vo and Xiu Xiu, other events such as the play: Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy by Goshka Macuga and a concert by Julieta Aranda in collaboration with Tisha Mukarji entitled: The perspective of perspective: A world mediated by a faulty image of the world were staged.

 

At Haus am Waldsee, Carla Zaccagnini staged the ballet and concert Le Quintuor des Nègres, encore. Furthermore, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc conceived a series of four panel discussions as part of his work Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect. Also, the world premiere of Shahryar Nashat’s film Parade took place at Delphi Filmpalast am Zoo.

 

The visual appearance of the 8th Berlin Biennale was developed together with the design office Zak Group; this included among other things the shortguide to the exhibition, the website, and a range of promotional material such as flyers and posters.

 

Eleven artist of the Berlin Biennale created posters for the limited edition 9+1.

 

This is the fifth time that the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art has invited emerging curators to the Young Curators Workshop to exchange ideas and discuss questions of the curatorial discourse and practice. In the framework of The Exhibition: Metamorphosis of a Concept – organized by María Inés Rodríguez – 13 young curators from 11 different countries met a range of guests: curators and experts from other disciplines. Similar to the preceding editions, the Young Curators Workshop was supported by the Allianz Cultural Foundation, Berlin, BMW, Munich; and Goethe-Institut, Munich. The participation of two young French curators was made possible by the program Jeunes Commissaires des Bureau des arts plastiques of the Institut français.

 

For the workshop Dialogues, conceived by Lidia Rossner, students from the M.A. Program in Visual and Media Anthropology at Free University Berlin created videos portraying artists and their projects at the 8th Berlin Biennale. The videos can be watched at the Berlin Biennale website.

 

The curator of the 8th Berlin Biennale

Curator:

Juan A. Gaitán

 

Juan A. Gaitán has invited the following persons to collaborate with him as core members and advisors in his Artistic Team:

Tarek Atoui

Natasha Ginwala

Catalina Lozano

Mariana Munguía

Olaf Nicolai

Danh Vo

 

Graphic Design

Zak Group

 

Complete team of the 8th Berlin Biennale

Juan A. Gaitán in the catalogue of the 8th Berlin Biennale

Throughout the process of constructing the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, I have wanted to keep the curatorial approach to Berlin on a tentative level, watching and listening to what goes on in the city before proceeding to confirm (or disconfirm) my suspicions. Over [...]More >

Events of the 8th Berlin Biennale

Machines for living. Flamenco and architecture in the occupation and clearance of space

Pedro G. Romero with María García Ruíz, Tomás de Perrate, and Amador Gabarri Lecture,... More >
Machines for living. Flamenco and architecture in the occupation and clearance of space

Wake: Berlin

Maria Thereza Alves Lecture, with an introduction by Catalina Lozano, in English More >
Wake: Berlin

Christian Palestinian Archive

Dor Guez Lecture, introduced by Juan A. Gaitán, in English More >
Christian Palestinian Archive

Dinner-Lecture Synesthetic Banquet: Vesuvian Horizon

For this installment of Beltrán’s series Synesthetic Banquet the artist will prepare a variety... More >
Dinner-Lecture Synesthetic Banquet: Vesuvian Horizon

Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Not Only Matter: Human Remains in Unrest

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in collaboration with Lotte Arndt and Catalina Lozano Panel discussion in... More >
Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Not Only Matter: Human Remains in Unrest

Ich will mich nicht künstlich aufregen (Asta Upset)

, 2014 Screening and discussion with director Max Linz introduced by Juan A.... More >
Ich will mich nicht künstlich aufregen (Asta Upset)

The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Jörg Schmalfuß and Natasha Ginwala Guided tour in German (with English translation) More >
The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Dismember, disposses. Objects and objectification

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in collaboration with Lotte Arndt and Catalina Lozano Panel discussion in... More >
Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Dismember, disposses. Objects and objectification

Excursus und Never Say in Private What You (Won’t) Say in Public

Books launch in English Juan Gaitán, Mariana Munguía and Carlos Amorales More >

The Absent Stone and Ixiptla

The Absent Stone, 2013 Documentary film by Sandra Rozental and Jesse Lerner. Mexico–USA. 80... More >
The Absent Stone and Ixiptla

The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Walter Lack and Natasha Ginwala Guided tour in English More >
The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Channels through the Institution – Undermining the colonial legacy of museums and expositions

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in collaboration with Lotte Arndt and Catalina Lozano Panel discussion in... More >
Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): Channels through the Institution – Undermining the colonial legacy of museums and expositions

Look. Look away. Look back.

Judy Radul Talk with Juan A. Gaitán in English More >
Look. Look away. Look back.

Ina Puri, The Necessary May Speak: Exploring the Aesthetics of Ganesh Haloi

Ina Puri The Necessary May Speak: Exploring the Aesthetics of Ganesh Haloi Lecture, moderated... More >
Ina Puri, The Necessary May Speak: Exploring the Aesthetics of Ganesh Haloi

The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Jörg Schmalfuß and Natasha Ginwala Guided tour in German (with English translation) More >
The Citizen of the World – A segment of “Double Lives”

Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): On Entomophilia: Bugs, bees, and registers

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc in collaboration with Lotte Arndt and Catalina Lozano Panel discussion in... More >
Crawling Doubles. Colonial Collecting and Affect (series of 4 panels): On Entomophilia: Bugs, bees, and registers

Robinson in Ruins

, 2010 Film screening introduced by Catalina Lozano, in English Directed by... More >
Robinson in Ruins

Forthcoming, Second edition

Jalal Toufic Book launch and lecture, in English More >
Forthcoming, Second edition

“Affiches” and “Fontaines”

Saâdane Afif and Olivier Vandervliet / Triangle Books Book launch in English More >
“Affiches” and “Fontaines”

Dahlem Sessions, Discursive event

Tarek Atoui in collaboration with Uriel Barthélémi, Jim Black, Tony Elieh, Charbel Haber, Mazen... More >
Dahlem Sessions, Discursive event

The perspective of perspective: A world mediated by a faulty image of the world

Julieta Aranda in collaboration with Tisha Mukarji Composition for timpani, synthesized voices, string, and... More >
The perspective of perspective: A world mediated by a faulty image of the world

Dahlem Sessions

Tarek Atoui in collaboration with Uriel Barthélémi, Jim Black, Tony Elieh, Charbel Haber, Mazen... More >
Dahlem Sessions

Le Quintuor des Nègres, encore

Carla Zaccagnini in collaboration with Theodor Köhler, Ayara Hernández Holz & Felix Marchand Ballet... More >
Le Quintuor des Nègres, encore

A Grave in the Wind – The Story of Farm No. 417 I.R.

Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR) Michelle Monareng in conversation with Gabi Ngcobo, in English More >

Dahlem Sessions

Tarek Atoui in collaboration with Uriel Barthélémi, Jim Black, Tony Elieh, Charbel Haber, Mazen... More >
Dahlem Sessions

Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy

Goshka Macuga, script in collaboration with Dieter Roelstraete Play in English More >
Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy

theTomorrow / Domino Conversation

theTomorrow (Lorenza Baroncelli, Stefano Boeri, Maddalena Bregani, Marco Ferrari, Tommaso Sacchi, Pier Paolo Tamburelli)... More >

Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy

Goshka Macuga, script in collaboration with Dieter Roelstraete Play in English More >
Preparatory Notes for a Chicago Comedy

Parade

by visual artist Shahryar Nashat is a cinematic adaption from choreography by Adam... More >
Parade

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