Andrea Di Stefano
'The peripheries become the center'. Around 200 young and emerging artists from every corner of the world, selected by the most influential curators, will create a pluralistic vision of contemporary art today. The issue investigated by the show - the peripheries become the center - refers to the dissolution of dichotomy of these concepts and to a liberation of plurality, a real meeting of cultures and attitudes from every center and the peripheries.
Organized by Giancarlo Politi and Helena Kontova, editors of Flash Art, the world's leading art magazine, together with Milan Knizak and Tomas Vlcek, directors of the National Gallery in Prague, the first Prague Biennale 'The peripheries become the center' announces itself as the major art event of the year, distinguishing itself from all the other big international exhibitions.
Around 200 young and emerging artists from every corner of the world, selected by the most influential curators, will create a pluralistic vision of contemporary art today.
The issue investigated by the show - the peripheries become the center - refers to the dissolution of dichotomy of these concepts and to a liberation of plurality, a real meeting of cultures and attitudes from every center and the peripheries.
A huge survey realized with a low budget (in comparison with the big exhibitions), the Prague Biennale has pushed its organizers to face amazing challenges, but these constraints represent a move towards new horizons, new solutions, and new exhibiting philosophies.
Conceived as many chapters of a book by different authors, the exhibition includes the following projects:
'Lazarus Effect. New painting today' (curated by Luca Beatrice, Lauri Firstenberg, and Helena Kontova), 'Superreal' (Lauri Firstenberg and Jessi Washburne-Harris), 'Mission Possible' (Michal Kolecek), 'Space and Subjectivity' (Lauri Firstenberg), 'When periphery turns center and center turns periphery' (Jens Hoffmann), 'Illusion of Security' (Lino Baldini and Gyonata Bonvicini), 'Differentia Specifica' (Judit Angel), 'alone/together' (Jacob Fabricius), '(Dis)locations' (Julieta Gonzalez), "Disturbance" (Helena Kontova), 'Seduced (by speeds and movements): Towards active agencies of fictions and realities in Polish art' (Adam Budak), 'Out of Order' (Luca Beatrice), No title (Sofia Hernandez), 'Overcoming Alienation: Emerging Artists from Russia' (Ekaterina Lazareva), 'Contemporary Identities' (Charlotte Mailler), 'Iceland' (DorothÃ©e Kirch), Untitled (Gregor Muir), 'Leaving Glasvegas' (Neil Mulholland), 'Virtual Perception' (Laurence Dreyfus), 'IMPROVisual' (Lavinia Garulli), 'Beautiful banners. Representation. Democracy. Participation' (Marco Scotini), 'Come with me' (Gea Politi), 'The Art of Survival' (B+B/Sarah Carrington and Sophie Hope), 'China Art Today' (Shue Yeng, Francesca Jordan, and Primo Marella), 'Aion: an eventual architecture' (Andrea Di Stefano), 'Greek section' (Deste Foundation), 'Pass it on' (Raimundas Malasauskas). Special Guest Curator: Francesco Vezzoli inviting Sigur Ros.
One of the main focuses of the exhibition is the new trend in painting. Lazarus Effect is an impressive panorama presenting works by emerging painters represented each by one or two large dimension works, most of them made specially for the Biennale. Lazarus Effect is an attempt to examine the health of painting, which is no longer the medium, but which manifests constantly its possibility and vitality. Young painters work with all different painting techniques, such as various types of abstraction, collage, figuration, and hyperrealism. Superreal is a section exploring the use of the most traditional art medium in the age of digital hyper reality, advancing technologies, and crazy speeds of information.
All the artworks at the Prague Biennale will be presented not in national 'pavilions' but in a pluralistic mix. In this way Mission Possible, the Czech section, is open to other European nationalities and aims to rethink the identity of the Central Europe. This view opposes the stereotypical understanding of Central Europe as an intersection of European East and West, and focuses instead on The North-South axis, underlining the significant role of the Czech state.
Special attention will be paid to the Eastern European art scene, with strong participation by artists from Hungary, Russia, and Poland.
The melting of the opposition between center and peripheries is explored as a potential ground for new creativity in the proposal When periphery turns center and center turns periphery. Through a selection of artists coming from situations that directly express the ambivalence of the terms 'center' and periphery', this section of the Biennale is an emblematic meeting ground for a multiplicity of languages, visual grammars, and styles.
In the contemporary globalized cultural situation, Space and subjectivity intends to examine the concept of the masses vis-Ã -vis Hardt and Negri's model of the multitude. A selection of photography and video, from the urban portrait of Mexico City to anonymous Israeli suburban borders, explores the anxiety between homogenisation and difference in the constitution of identity.
In a similar way, alone/together, a section of artists coming from Northern Europe, examines the relation between the individual and the collective, focusing on strategies of artists that challenge the restrictions of society.
Image: Johannes Kahrs, "Girl'n Gun", oil on canvas, 2002.
Opening: June 26-27-28
National Gallery/Veletrzni Palac