Prague Biennale


26 Jun - 24 Aug 2003

26 June - 24 Aug 2003

The title of the inaugural edition of the Prague Biennale, “Peripheries become the center”, refers to the dissolution of the dichotomy of these concepts and to a liberation of plurality in terms of both identity and artistic practice. The distinction articulated in this dichotomy has become increasingly irrelevant due to information technology, the mass media, migration, and nomadism. The escalating phenomenon of globalization and the seeming collapse of physical distances brought about by the Internet have changed the terms in which the relations between periphery and center are negotiated, and even the definitions of what these two places are. The proposal that “Peripheries become the center” is a point of departure for the 30 international curators of the Prague Biennale, opening up space for investigation of their own diverse areas of research and interest.

One of the main focuses of the Biennale is new trends in painting. Lazarus Effect is a panorama of works by emerging painters, most of which were created specifically for the exhibition. Curated by Luca Beatrice, Lauri Firstenberg, and Helena Kontova, this section attempts to assess the health of the medium, which constantly manifests its possibility and vitality, despite cyclical pronouncements of its imminent death. The contradictory and dynamic nature of contemporary painting is evidenced by these painters’ forays into styles such as abstraction, collage, figuration, and hyperrealism. Superreal, curated by Lauri Firstenberg, further considers hyperrealism, investigating the return to the traditional, historical, slow territory of realist painting in an age informed by advancing digital technologies and accelerating speeds of information.

The issue of retaining a national identity as the art world becomes increasingly globalized is a perpetual subject of debate and investigation. Questions of identity loom large throughout several sections of the Biennale focusing on diverse artistic scenes: Leaving Glavegas, curated by Neil Mulholland, showcases works by artists active in the Scottish cities of Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow; Fragments of Contemporary Identities, curated by Charlotte Mailler, exhibits works by (mostly Swiss) artists examining the representation or value of tradition in contemporary culture; Global Suburbia, curated by Dorothée Kirch, delves into the art scene in Iceland; Francesca Jordan and Primo Marella survey Chinese Art Today; Italy: Out of Order, curated by Luca Beatrice and Giancarlo Politi, considers contemporary art from Italy; The Deste Foundation presents a panorama of contemporary Greek art curated by Xenia Kalpaktsolgou; individual “atypical” presences in the Hungarian art scene are gathered together by Judit Angel in Differentia Specifica; Mission Possible, curated by Michal Kolecek, rethinks the identity of Central Europe, underlining the significant role of the Czech state; Tomas Vlcek highlights works by leading historical protagonists of the Czech art scene in Special Homage to Czech Women Artists; and Seduced (by Speed and Movements): Recent Polish Art, curated by Adam Budak, maps the vast cultural territories in which Polish contemporary artists construct multilayered and fluid structures of meaning, immersed in a process of constant shifting between the real and the fictive, the active and the passive, the mobile and the fixed.

Overcoming Alienation, curated by Ekaterina Lazareva, considers what globalization means for the art world today. Demonstrating a wide interpretation of the Biennale’s themes, the selected Russian artists are all engaged in overcoming the alienation of cultures, languages, and religions, by addressing topical subjects such as consumerism and corporations, immigration, communication, and social relations.

(Dis)locations, curated by Julieta Gonzalez, proposes that mobility and the diaspora are direct consequences of the globalization of the art world, and accordingly presents works by Latin American artists who either currently live abroad or have done so for a long period of their careers. An awareness of the “location” of the work, not only within the exhibition space, but also within the more general sphere of the art world, is an articulating thread in all the selected works. Through their problematization of space as the site of power, knowledge, and culture; and with their dislocation of given concepts, situations, and myths, the selected artists contest the stereotypes the West has imposed on the rest of the world.

Curated by Lauri Firstenberg, Space and Subjectivity addresses the periphery by primarily visualizing space. Featuring works that oscillate between visualizing particular regions inflected by specific cultural signifiers and imagining the more anonymous zones that globalization propagates, this section speaks to the anxiety between homogenization and difference in the constitution of identity.
In the same vein, alone/together, a selection of artists from Northern Europe curated by Jacob Fabricius, examines the relation between the individual and the collective, focusing on artistic strategies that challenge the restrictions of society. Beautiful Banners, curated by Marco Scotini, similarly addresses artistic practices as the meeting point between the public and the symbolic sphere in the new global order; and The Art of Survival, curated by B+B, presents tactics, strategies, and attempted expeditions by artists working toward a space of self-determination, independence, or resistance.

When the Periphery Turns Center and the Center Turns Periphery, curated by Jens Hoffmann, proposes that while debates surrounding the postcolonial, the diaspora, and issues of marginalization are still significant issues worthy of discussion, as artistic imperatives they have developed the danger of being limited, didactic, or moribund. This section gathers the work of artists who come from places that directly express the ambivalence of the terms “center” and “periphery,” for whom issues of racial, sexual, political, or social identity have become an optional reference but not necessarily an unalterable doctrine.

The Prague Biennale seeks to examine new trends in digital art as well. IMPROVisual, curated by Lavinia Garulli, explores the ways in which the liveness of digital media performances brings a new kind of contact with reality into the audio-visual work. Electronic music is a pure sound event in which there is no specific image of the sound source, allowing the music to suggest new visual landscapes. Works investigating the live interaction of sound and image are freed up to concentrate on improvisation instead of reproduction, as reality no longer means an external thing. For the first time a Biennale opens up to live VJing as a kind of artistic practice.

A selection of innovative digital artists comprises Virtual Perception, curated by Laurence Dreyfus. These inventors of images venture into diverse forms of expression: animated films, Flash, net art, analog and digital images. Different types of reality confront each other and mix together, often with the appropriation of narrative figures from video games or interactive fictions.

Other thematic exhibitions include Come with me, curated by Gea Politi, presenting works by experimental filmmakers; Aión: An Eventual Architecture, a survey of digital architecture curated by Andrea Di Stefano; Collecting, Channeling, curated by Sofía Hernández, which consists of three projects that collect and channel a range of views, interests, and objects of material culture; Illusion of Security, curated by Lino Baldini and Gyonata Bonvicini, presenting works investigating questions of surveillance and “insecurity” culture; Disturbance, curated by Helena Kontova, which gathers a small group of contemporary artists intently pursuing their own singular visions; and Brand Art, also curated by Kontova, for which three artists were commissioned to create artworks interpreting the Mattoni brand on billboards around Prague. The Prague Biennale also presents special projects by Oliver Payne and Nick Relph, curated by Gregor Muir; Sigur Rós, curated by artist Francesco Vezzoli; and Pass It On, an exquisite corpse video project by Raimundas Malasauskas.

As Jens Hoffmann reminds us, “art is only a string in the web of global culture, and is interdependent with the sociopolitical developments within our everyday life.” The various sections of the Prague Biennale tackle the subject of identity in the age of globalization and information technology, in which, now more than ever, boundaries have dissolved and mobility has increased, so that location may no longer be the most relevant factor in the constitution of identity. Some artists respond with a desire to cling to a differentiated identity in the face of homogenous globalization, but at the same time, the collapse of the opposition between center and peripheries is explored as a potential ground for new creativity, and the Prague Biennale seeks to examine the growth in sheer variety in the current artistic discourse from all over the world.

The list of artists

Lazarus Effect
curated by Luca Beatrice, Lauri Firstenberg Helena Kontova
Kamrooz Aram (Iran), Mark Bradford (USA), Delia Brown (USA), Jane Callister (GB/USA), Brian Calvin (USA), José León Cerrillo (MEX/USA), Andrea Chiesi (I), Jay Davis (USA), Kaye Donachie (GB), Benjamin Edwards (USA), Judith Eisler (USA), Isca Greenfield Sanders (USA), Terry Haggerty (GB/USA), Eberhart Havekost (D), Merlin James (GB), Johannes Kahrs (D), Jukka Korkeila (Fl), Robert Lucander (Finland), Julie Mehretu (Ethiopia/Usa), Ryan Mendoza (Usa/I), Manu Muniategui (ES), Graham Parks (USA), Tal R (DK), Peter Rostovski (Russia/USA), Christoph Ruckhäberle (D), Matt Saunders (USA), James Sheehan (USA), Dana Schutz (USA), Dita Stepanova (CZ), Rezi Van Lankveld (NL), Adriana Varejâo (BRA), Matthias Weischer (D), Janet Werner (CN)

Curated by Lauri Firstenberg (USA)
Karel Funk (CN), Frantiska and Tim Gilman-Sevcik (CZ), Ellen Harvey (GB/USA), Ulrich Lamsfuss (D), David Nicholson (CN/USA), Aaron Romine (USA), Kehinde Wiley (USA)

Mission Possible
Curated by Michal Kolecek (Czech Republic)
Dan Acostioaei (Romania), Jirí Cernicky (Czech Republic), Jana Kalinova (Czech Republic), Sejla Kameric (Bosnia Herzegovina), Kristof Kintera (Czech Republic), Barbara Klimova (Czech Rebuplic), Ján Mancuska (Czech Republic), Pavel Mrkus (Czech Republic), Oliver Musovik (Macedonia),
Markéta Othová (Czech Republic), Michal Pechoucek (Czech Republic), Reinigungsgesellschaft (Germany), Stepanka Simlova (Czech Republic), Dezsö Szabo (Hungary).

When Periphery turns center and center turns periphery
Curated by Jens Hoffmann (International)
Trisha Donnelly (USA), Laura Belém (BRA), Alexander Gerdel (VE), Natascha Sadr Haghighian (D), Federico Herrero (COSTARICA), Lansing-Dreiden (USA), Melissa Longenecker (USA), Tim Lee (USA), João Modé (BRA), Marc Roeder (USA), Cinthya Soto (COSTARICA), Ron Terada (CN).

Beautiful banners. Representation/Democracy/Partecipation
Curated by Marco Scotini (Italy)
Gustavo Artigas (Mex), Marc Bijl (NL), Radek Community (Russia), Annibal Lopez (Guatemala), Meschac Gaba (Benin), Teresa Margolles (Mex), Gianni Motti (I), Boris Ondreicka (Slovakia), Roman Ondák (Slovakia), Jeroen Jongeleen (NL), Armando Lulja (Albania).

Italy: Out of Order
Curated by Luca Beatrice and Giancarlo Politi (I)
Paolo Consorti, Roberto Cuoghi, Davide Bertocchi, Omar Galliani, Cristina Graziani, Marcello Maloberti, Domenico Mangano, Gian Marco Montesano, Angelo Mosca, Mimmo Paladino, Federico Pietrella, Chiara Pirito, Luca Rento, Mario Rizzi, Salvo, Nicola Verlato, Kostabi World.

Illusion of security
curated by Lino Baldini and Gyonata Bonvicini (I)
Bureau d'Etudes (FR), Tamara Khundadze(D), Eredi Brancusi (I), Yael Bartana (Israel), Olivier Pietsch (D), Marina Fulgeri (I), Phillip Zaiser (D), Stefan Banz (CH), Y Liver (I), Lola Marazuela (ES), Valentina Favi & Saverio Pieralli (I), Giovanna Di Costa (I), Lucia Uni (I), Zhang Qi-Kai (China-Italy), Christian Frosi (I).

Differentia specifica
Curated by Judit Angel (Hungary)
Sándor Bartha, Marcell Esterházy, Tibor Horváth, Szabolcs KissPál, Kis Varsó / Little Warsaw (András Gálik and Bálint Havas), Csaba Nemes & Ágnes Szépfalvi, Version (RO/FR) (Nicolae Baciu, Mircea Cantor, Ciprian Muresan, Gabi Vanga).

alone / together
Curated by Jacob Fabricius (Denmark)
Johanna Billing (Sweden), Lise Blomberg Andersen (Denmark), Stephan Dillemuth (Germany), Kirsten Dufour/Finn Thybo (Denmark), Katie Holten (Ireland), Laura Horelli (Finland), Jakob Jakobsen (Denmark), Henriette Heise (Denmark), Josef Strau (Germany).

Curated by Julieta Gonzalez (Venezuela)
Alexander Apóstol (VE), Adriana Arenas (Colombia), Emilia Azcárate (VE), Stefan Brüggemann (Mexico), Mauricio Lupini (Venezuela), Martín Sastre (Uruguay) Javier Téllez (VE), Sergio Vega (Argentina)

Global Suburbia
Curated by Dorothée Kirch (Iceland)
The Icelandic Love Corporation (Iceland), Unnar Örn (Iceland), Ásmunsdur Ásmundsson (Iceland), Gabriela Fridriksdóttir (Iceland).

Seduced (by speeds and movements): Towards active agencies of fictions and realities in Polish art
Curated by Adam Budak (Poland)
Azorro Group, Rafal Bujnowski, Bogna Burska, Marta Deskur, Malgorzata Jablonska, Pawel Ksiazek, Dominik Lejman, Krzysztof Ostrowski, Monika Sosnowska, Krzysztof Zielinski.

Collecting, Channeling
Curated by Sofia Hernandez (Mexico/New York)
velocidadcrítica (Mexico), Television (an address) (Colombia-Serbia), Ziploc project (Chile)

Space and Subjectivity
Curated by Lauri Firstenberg (Usa)
Lucas Ajemian (Usa), Weng Feng (China), Jonah Freeman (Usa), Francis Gomila (GB), Atelier Morales (MEX), Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa), Orit Raff (Israel), Daniela Rossell (Mexico), Bharat Sikka (India), Alex Slade (Usa), Anton Vidokle (Russia/USA), Sharon Ya'ari (Israel), Veronicka Zapletalova (Czech Republic)

Overcoming alienation. Emerging artists from Russia
Curated by Ekaterina Lazareva (Russia)
ESCAPE PROGRAM, (Valeriy Ayzenberg, Bogdan Mamonov, Anton Litvin, Liza Morozova), Anton Litvin, Elena Kovylina, Maxim Ilyukhin, Liza Morozova, Georgy Pervov, Andrey Ustinov.

Contemporary identities
Curated by Charlotte Mailler (Switzerland)
Valentin Carron, Stefane Dafflon, San Keller, Zilla Leutenegger, Petra Mrzyk & Jean-François Moriceau (FR), Amy O'Neill, Rébecca S. (Sauvin), Tessa M. den Uyl.

No title
Curated by Gregor Muir (Great Britain)
Nick Relph and Oliver Payne.

Leaving Glasvegas. Scottish Art scene after the ’90.
Curated by Neil Mulholland (Scotland)
Katie Dove, Michael Fullerton, Keith Farquhar, Alexander Guy, Keith MacIsaac, Lee O'Connor, Tom O'Sullivan and Joanne Tatham, Alex Pollard, Hanneline Visnes,.

Virtual Perception
Curated by Laurence Dreyfus (France)
Nicolas Floc’h (F), Stéphane Sautour (F), Tatiana Trouvé (F), Philippe Mayau (F), ART DIGITAL DVD international program [France: Julien Alma, Virginie Barre, Julien Baumann, Mathieu Briand, Pierre Giner, Laurent Hart (Borderland), Kolkoz, Martin Le Chevallier, Melik Ohanian, Bruno Samper, Stéphane Sautour; Haluk Akakçe (TUK), Tobias Bernstrup (SW), Sadie Chandler (AUS), Croubalian & Novarina (CH), Decosterd & Rahm (CH), Felix Stephan Huber (CH), Zilla Leutenegger (CH), Katarina Lofstrom (SW), Feng Mengbo (CHINA), Sven Pahlsson (NORV), Palle Torsson (SW), Patrick Tuttofuoco (IT), Italo Zuffi (IT), Tim White (USA)].

curated by Lavinia Garulli (I)
242.pilots (Norway, Poland, Usa) featuring Kelly (Norway), [skoltz_kolgen] (Dioxyde) (CN), Otolab (I), Phase (CZ)

The art of Survival
Curated by B+B (Sarah Carrington and Sophie Hope) (Great Britain)
Ella Gibbs, Alsdair Hopwood, Barry Sykes and Sean Parfitt, Paula Roush

China Art Today
Curated by Francesca Jordan & Primo Marella
Yang Fudong, Chen Lingyang, Ma Liuming, Liu Jin, Wang Qingsong, Li Wei, Huang Yang, Wang Xingwei, Cui Xiuwen, Yang Zhenzhong.

Disturbance (Interference)
Curated by Helena Kontova (international)
Piero Golia (Italy), Christian Holstad (USA), L.A. Raeven (Holland), Aïda Ruilova (USA), Eduardo Sarabia (Usa), SIX (UK/CZ).

Come with me
Curated by Gea (London/Milan)
Simon Chung (Hong Kong), Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger (Switzerland), Naotaka Hiro (Japan), Alfonso Cuarón (Mexico)

Aión: an eventual architecture
Curated by Andrea Di Stefano
Alisa Andrasek (Zagabria, lives in NY), Haresh Lalvani (Kharagpur, India, lives in NY), George Liaropoulos-Legendre (greek-franch, lives in London), Ciro Najle (Argentina).
Reiser+Umemoto (Jesse Reiser b. NY e Nanako Umemoto b. Kyoto, live in NY).

Deste Foundation (Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Dakis Joannou, Greece)
Athanasios Argianas/ Smoothrooms Collective, Nikos Papadimitriou, Vassiliea Stylianidou

Special Guest Curator: Francesco Vezzoli (artist, Italy)
Inviting: Sigur Rós (Iceland)

Special Projects:

Brand Art
Swetlana Heger (Cz/Au) Plamen Dejanov (Bu) Jean-Pierre Khazem (FR)

Special Homage to Czech women artists
Adriena Simotová, Zorka Ságlová, Jitka Válová

Curated by Raimundas Malasauskas (Lithuania)

Soya Sauce and Ketchup Fight
Cai Yuan and JJ Xi (China)

Tags: Lucas Ajemian, Haluk Akakçe, Alexander Apóstol, Kamrooz Aram, Athanasios Argianas, Armando, Azorro, Virginie Barré, Yael Bartana, Sandor Bartha, Laura Belém, Tobias Bernstrup, Davide Bertocchi, Marc Bijl, Johanna Billing, Mark Bradford, Stefan Brüggemann, Rafal Bujnowski, Brian Calvin, Mircea Cantor, Valentin Carron, Jirï Cernicky, José León Cerrillo, Po-i Chen, Martin Le Chevallier, The Icelandic Love Corporation, Roberto Cuoghi, Marta Deskur, Stephan Dillemuth, Kaye Donachie, Trisha Donnelly, Bureau d’études, Judith Eisler, Keith Farquhar, Jonah Freeman, Gabriela Fridriksdóttir, Christian Frosi, Yang Fudong, Michael Fullerton, Karel Funk, Meschac Gaba, Piero Golia, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Terry Haggerty, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Ellen Harvey, Federico Herrero, Naotaka Hiro, Jens Hoffmann, Jens Hoffmann, Christian Holstad, Katie Holten, Laura Horelli, Tibor Horváth, Stephan Huber, Merlin James, Ou Jin, Jeroen Jongeleen, Johannes Kahrs, Sejla Kameric, San Keller, Kristof Kintera, Szabolcs Kisspál, Kolkoz, Elena Kovylina, Ulrich Lamsfuss, Rezi Van Lankveld, Tim Lee, Dominik Lejman, Zilla Leutenegger, Chen Lingyang, Ma Liuming, Katarina Löfström, Robert Lucander, Mauricio Lupini, Marcello Maloberti, Ján Mancuska, Teresa Margolles, Julie Mehretu, Ryan Mendoza, Feng Mengbo, João Modé, Petra Mrzyk & Jean-François Moriceau, Gianni Motti, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Ciprian Muresan, Csaba Nemes, Amy O'Neill, Tom O'Sullivan, Melik Ohanian, Roman Ondák, Marketa Othova, tom O’Sullivan, Sven Påhlsson, Mimmo Paladino, Oliver Payne, Al Payne, Michal Pechoucek, Wang Qingsong, Tal R, L.A. Raeven, LA Raeven, Orit Raff, Nick Relph, Mario Rizzi, Daniela Rossell, Christoph Ruckhäberle, Aïda Ruilova, Zorka Ságlová, Salvo, Eduardo Sarabia, Martin Sastre, Matt Saunders, Dana Schutz, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Bharat Sikka, Monika Sosnowska, Josef Strau, Vassiliea Stylianidou, Joanne Tatham, Javier Téllez, Ron Terada, Tatiana Trouvé, Patrick Tuttofuoco, Adriana Varejão, Sergio Vega, Francesco Vezzoli, Anton Vidokle, Hanneline Visnes, Little Warsaw, Matthias Weischer, Janet Werner, Kehinde Wiley, Wang Xingwei, Cui Xiuwen, Sharon Ya'ari, Phillip Zaiser, O Zhang, Yang Zhenzhong, Krzysztof Zieliński, Italo Zuffi