February 24, 2009 - Bergen Kunsthall - Call for Biennial Knowledge
February 24, 2009

Call for Biennial Knowledge

Call for Biennial Knowledge

The Bergen Biennial Conference
17th – 20th September 2009

Curated by: Elena Filipovic,
Marieke Van Hal, Solveig Øvstebø

Rasmus Meyers allé no.5,
5015 Bergen, Norway




As scholars and curators have recently acknowledged, the history of exhibitions is both one of the most vital and, paradoxically, ignored narratives of our cultural history. And given the increasing role of biennials and other perennial exhibitions of contemporary art in contemporary culture, it seems all the more necessary to critically examine them today. The impetus to do so now comes in response to the City of Bergen’s plans to establish a biennial for contemporary art in Bergen, Norway, for which the Bergen Kunsthall has taken up the task of organizing an international conference and think tank to study and discuss the status of the biennial as an exhibition model, and also to launch a debate concerning the plans for a biennial in Bergen.

The aims of the Bergen Biennial Conference, poised to be one of the most extensive examinations of the biennial phenomenon to date, are to identify and explore existing ‘biennial knowledge’ from different regions of the world and to incite new critical thinking and writing on recurrent large-scale art exhibitions—their history, socio-political and economical contexts, as well as their impact on artistic and curatorial practices.

Taking research as its starting point, the Bergen Biennial Conference will bring together an international group of curators, critics, artists, and thinkers so as to benefit from their discussions of their findings, and create the occasion to reflect collectively about the practice and potential of biennials as institutions. The event’s discursive format—a combination of symposium and think tank—made up of three days of lectures as well as seminar style workshops with young and leading professionals in the field will be complemented with a two-volume reader. The first volume will include existing seminal texts on biennials from around the world, and a second volume will be composed of newly commissioned texts and a report on the event. On the occasion of the conference, the archive on international biennials that was conceived as part of the 28th São Paolo Biennial and constituting the most comprehensive documentation source on biennials anywhere, will be present and available for consultation in the Bergen Kunsthall.

Call for articles: As the first step in this project, and in order to compile the first volume’s comprehensive reader about biennials, we are calling for already existing (published or unpublished, recent or older) articles from around the world and in any language on the biennial as a format or phenomenon (i.e. not reviews of a particular edition of a biennial but more comprehensive, researched articles on the larger biennial question). We ask that you submit articles that you may have written or know about, which constitute a seminal reflection on the subject of perennial exhibitions. Please include full contact information or publication information for previously published texts. All submissions will be considered for the creation of a biennial bibliography, a new reference tool aiming to be beneficial for all professionals working in the field. A selection of texts will be translated and published, with prior permission of the author.

Please submit articles by: 5th of April 2009 and consult the website for further information and updates: www.bbc2009.no.

17th-20th September 2009

Contact information:
Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé no.5,
5015 Bergen, Norway
T: +47 55559310
E: bbc2009@kunsthall.no
W: www.bbc2009.no
W: www.kunsthall.no

Curated by:
Elena Filipovic, Marieke Van Hal, Solveig Øvstebø

Bergen Kunsthall

Bergen Kunsthall
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