May 14, 2012 - Kyiv International Biennale - ARSENALE 2012
May 14, 2012


Left: Aida Makoto, Heart, 2011. Right: Yayoi Kusama, With All My Love for the Tulips, I Pray Forever, 2011.

the first Kiev International Biennale

24 May–31 July 2012

ARSENALE 2012 will be the first Biennale to take place in Kiev, Ukraine. Under the Direction of Commissioner, Nataliia Zabolotna and artistic direction of renowned British Curator, David Elliott, the Biennale will be entitled The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, based on an idea inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (1859). On display in the historic Mystetskyi Arsenal, a magnificent former military building in the heart of Kiev, ARSENALE 2012 will feature works by over 100 leading and emerging international and Ukrainian contemporary artists, including over 40 new works previously unseen or made especially for the exhibition. Click here for further details on the main programme and here for a full list of artists.

Special Project: DOUBLE GAME
Curated by Oleksander Soloviov, Deputy Director-General, Mystetskyi Arsenal. 
The Polish side of the project will be coordinated by Fabio Cavalucci, Director of Zamek Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland.

This project will present a unique opportunity for the artists, curators and critics from Poland and Ukraine to meet and debate, to find points of contact and mark the zones of identity, diversity, and resemblance. Thirty-eight artists will be taking part in the project, with most of the works on display to be made especially for ARSENALE 2012.

Despite these two countries sharing a common border there is a lack of mutual knowledge about each other’s cultures and art. This project may be regarded as a special test for looking at a local cultural situation in the context of the globalized world.

Alexander Solovyov, curator of the Special Project ARSENALE 2012 has described how “The special project will be a kind of portal to ARSENALE 2012. Most of the contributors for the main project have already had the chance to clearly express themselves; they are simply acting now in a new context, a new space. The special project will be much less predictable, it will keep the intrigue until the last moment: because it involves plenty of very young artists, and most of the works will be created within the walls of ​​the Mystetskyi Arsenal.”

For more information on the Special Project please click here.

Parallel Programme
Guests of ARSENALE will have a chance to experience Ukraine’s cultural scene and become immersed in Kiev and Ukraine’s unique cultural environment through the Parallel Programme. It will include a programme of art and cultural events that will take place at art institutions and galleries to coincide with the Biennale.

The Parallel Programme will run in over 36 museums, galleries, cultural laboratories, and individual art initiatives across the Ukraine. The Programme will involve Ukraine’s most important and active artists and institutions, while still echoing the main theme of the Biennale.

For more information on the Parallel Programme please click here.

Educational Programme
The Educational Programme will be a special programme to introduce the contemporary art of ARSENALE to the wider Ukrainian audience, including students. Lectures and discussions will take place leading up to the Biennale and guided tours will be held during the Biennale. It will also include a selection of lectures, tours, and master classes during the Biennale.

For more information on the Educational Programme please click here.

Discussion Platform
What is and what should never be? This question makes up the starting point of the discussion platform for the First Kiev Biennale. The discussion platform has been concerned with the future of art after the end of the world as we know it, the end of the world that we all witness. The platform has taken the form of a series of discussions, talks, lectures, seminars, and conferences beginning in April 2012. A forthcoming publication due to come out in Summer 2012 will sum up the project. Two more lectures are scheduled to take place in May:

Lecture by Boris Groys
14 May 2012, 18–21
On the Use of Theory by Art and Use of Art by Theory
Boris Groys, a Professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University, will lead a lecture at the Discussion Platform entitled Art After the End of the World on 14 May 2012 before the official opening of the Biennale. After the talk, Boris Groys will take part in a discussion with a panel of Ukrainian artists and theorists.

Lecture by Renata Salecl
25 May 2012, 18–21
Violence As a Response To the Ideology of Unlimited Possibilities
Renata Salecl, a philosopher, sociologist, and author, as well as visiting professor at the Cardozo School of Law and Birkbeck College, University of London, will lead a lecture at the Discussion Platform entitled Violence As a Response To the Ideology of Unlimited Possibilities which will look at the mechanisms of identification and denial that operate in post-industrial capitalism and how they prevent people to revolt against dominant ideology.

For more information on the Discussion Platform please click here.

For further press information, images, or interview requests please contact:                                       
Jenny McVean, Sutton PR
+44 (0) 20 7183 3577
+44 (0) 7595 217 650

Professional Registration
The registration for professionals is open for those interested in visiting the fair. Please pre-register here.

Kyiv International Biennale
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