Biennials around the world are reimagining their exhibition formats
With the coronavirus pandemic challenging the usual ways that audiences experience and engage with art exhibitions, biennials around the world are finding new ways to display content online. The Biennale of Sydney, the Riga International Biennial and the Bucharest Biennale are announcing new ways to experience their exhibitions.
The Biennale of Sydney
The 22nd Biennale of Sydney opened on Saturday 14 March and was closed only 10 days after the opening. This year’s exhibition, NIRIN, is showcasing 101 artists and collectives around the world, including the Sámi activist collective Suohpanterror. The artist- and First Nations-led exhibition unites diverse cultures and perspectives, offering a global platform for a stimulating dialogue. Now the Biennale is opening its doors to audiences around the world by moving the exhibition to an online platform, Google Arts & Culture.
While the online platform is currently under construction, the Biennale is publishing different ways to connect and to collaborate through social media platforms.
Suohpanterror is an anonymous artistic collective founded in Sápmi in 2012. The activist group live and work in Finland, Sweden and Norway. The collective draws attention to the culture of the Indigenous Sámi people, their rights and the inequalities they face every day. Their iconic images use wit and humour to comment on important issues such as discrimination, racism, climate change, colonialism and marginalisation.
The Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art
The second Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art – RIBOCA2 will switch from an exhibition format to a movie set. Starting 21 May, 2020 the biennial project RIBOCA2: and suddenly it all blossoms will be experienced through a feature movie and series of online talks and conversations. In keeping with the biennial’s mission of promoting local and neighbouring art scenes, the majority of the participants are neighbours from the Baltic region, including Finnish collective Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen.
The film will follow the original exhibition plan and present a dialogue between finished, unfinished and absent works of art originally intended to be featured in the biennial. The movie set in the former industrial port of Riga, Andrejsala, will represent the rupture of modern utopias in today’s athmosphere of uncertainty. RIBOCA2: and suddenly it all blossoms will be a representation of past and future worlds.
Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen is a multidisciplinary collective whose practice traverses historical narratives and borderlines between scientific fact, myth and imagination. The Helsinki-based artists create artistic hybrids by mediating between theatre, music and the visual arts.
The Bucharest Biennale
The 9th Bucharest Biennale, Farewell to Research questions the trend of academisized research and experiments with its process-based creative practice, curatorial narrative and artistic thinking. Among the invited artists and researchers is Finnish artist duo Gustaffsson&Haapoja.
Gustafsson & Haapoja’s video work Becoming is one of the keynote projects of the Biennale. It examines humanity from different viewpoints, featuring 37 interviews with artists, activists, children, teachers, politicians and caregivers.
While it is still uncertain if the screening will be physically possible, some of the keynote projects, curatorial workshops, performative events and screenings will be available online.
The participation of Suahpanterror to the Sydney Biennale, Honkasalo-Niemi-Virtanen to the Riga Biennial and Gustaffson&Haapoja to the Bucharest Biennale has been supported by Frame Grant.
Suohpanterror, Don’t Worry (2013) Image courtesy of the artist.