Academiae Biennial: “Where Plato taught—teaching art: is it art or is it a fart?”

Academiae Biennial: “Where Plato taught—teaching art: is it art or is it a fart?”

Academiae Biennial

Photo: class of Christian Jankowski, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, 2018.

September 28, 2018
Academiae Biennial: “Where Plato taught—teaching art: is it art or is it a fart?”
July 7–October 31, 2018
Franzensfeste Museum
Brixen/Bressanone (BZ) South Tyrol

Art Biennial dedicated to Academy students 
Side event of Land Art-Capuccini public park, Bolzano, Italy

Curated by Christian Jankowski

For the second edition of the Academiae Biennial over 60 art students and teaching artists hailing from Portugal, the Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Norway, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and Israel are exhibiting their works in the Franzensfeste fortress this summer. The 180 year old Austro-Hungarian fortress Franzenfeste situated just south of the Brenner Pass in the Alps, has won several international architecture prizes for its adaptive reuse and conversion into an exhibition space.

Renowned artist Christian Jankowski curated the exhibition and invited 15 professors to each curate their allocated “pavilion”: spacious former fortified chambers of this large military fortress, and by doing so create a space that would be representative of their class. Jankowski only selected art teachers that are also great artists themselves: Heimo Zobernig, Aleksandra Vajd, Marie de Brugerolle, Gilad Ratman, Adrian Paci, Jerszy Seymour, Brandon LaBelle, Miroslaw Balka, João Onofre, Sergey Bratkov, Emily Roysdon, Valentin Carron, Gülçin Aksoy Özdemir and Sarah Staton.

With the title “Where Plato Taught—Teaching Art: Is it Art or is it a Fart?” Jankowski references the first Academy founded by Plato in the olive groves outside of Athens. He investigates the complexities of how to teach art artistically. Uniquely, the Academiae Biennial exhibits artists not at the apex of their career but at a formative time and explores what can arise out of an atmosphere of collective learning and production. On the other hand, each pavilion can also be seen as a portrait or reflection of the artist-professor.

Many of the projects can be traced back to an action. For example, the Polish delegation, represented by three of Miroslaw Balka’s students, documented their journey from Warsaw to the biennial dressed in their newly designed Beuys-Scout-Uniforms. Also spectacular is the journey of Bangjoo Kim who dribbled a basketball the long way from his academy in Stuttgart to Franzensfeste hoping to make a basket upon his arrival. Did he score? The Dirty Art Department from Amsterdam presents a surreal artistic doku film from their recent trip through Greece exploring its political crisis and cultural heritage.

During the opening days of the biennial, when all of the “academics,” artists and art lovers gathered in Franzenfeste, the otherwise quiet, bucolic place with its mysterious niches and hidden corners was turned into a vibrant art and party site. The energy left behind is evident in the installations on view in this extraordinary exhibition site. This biennial exemplifies a new generation of artists seeking to cope with an ever-changing political and academic landscape with ingenuity and a self-evident internationalism.

Accompanying the exhibition is a comprehensive catalogue (280 pages) with texts about each classes contribution by Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, dean of the faculty of Design and Art at Free University of Bolzano and curatorial advisor, as well as texts about lucky moments of teaching with John Baldessari, Martin Kippenberger, Ilya Kabakov, Maurizio Cattelan and many more.

Visual identity project by the University of Design and Arts of the University of Bolzano.

Project conceivement by Paolo Berloffa-Art Director of Academiae.

The biennale ACADEMIAE has been organized and produced by the Association ArtintheAlps .

It boasts the patronage of MIBAC (Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs) Euro-region Euregio, the support of the Trentino/Südtirol Region and the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Südtirol.


Associazione ArtintheAlps Verein, President:
Patrizia Spadafora, patrizia.spadafora [​at​] / T +39 335 7355820

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September 28, 2018

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