July 16, 2007 - Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art - 1st Thessaloniki Biennale Presents Heterotopias
July 16, 2007

1st Thessaloniki Biennale Presents Heterotopias

Vadim Zakharov, “Black Birds” (2007).

1st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art

21st May – 30th September 2007
160 artists / 37 countries / 25 city institutions / 26 spaces / 27 exhibitions


A huge saw, 10 meters high, arrivesfrom Miami, “cutting”the earth and the seain an act symbolising the gap that may exist among people and religions. “Black birds”, men with ties and briefcases landing on the atrium of the Byzantine Museum, reminding us of “Golconda” by Magritte. A painted table of the artist from which 300 small sketches have escaped and float freely on…the wall creating the illusion of three-dimensional painting. “Paintings” created in Braille: These are Van Gogh’s letters describing his works, transferred to white frames, that can be “seen” through touch by people with impaired vision. These are some of the “Heterotopias” that will be exhibited in the 1st Biennale of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, entitled “Heterotopias”, organised by the State Museum of Contemporary Art with the support of the Ministry of Culture from May 21 until September 30 (within the framework of “Culture” operational programme – co-funded by the European Union (80% by ERDF and 20% by the Ministry of Culture).

The title is borrowed from Michel Foucault’s lecture on real spaces-islands where man follows a certain set of rules, which distract him from his daily functions. We interpret Foucault’s text based on new conditions which prove its timelessness. We detect contemporary “heterotopias”, counterpoising real spaces with imaginary ones and we imagine new spaces of the future. As the Biennale’s city, Thessaloniki reevaluates the notions of centre and periphery and brings the periphery to the centre by abolishing the established borders. This way, art is liberated from the restricting walls of a Museum which, regardless, is a “heterotopia” in itself.

The Director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art and one of the three curator of the main programme of the Biennale, Maria Tsantsanoglou -the other two are Catherine David, Jan-Erik Lundström- notes: “Foucault underlines that the museum is a heterotopia. However, in the end, it is the work of art that becomes a heterotopia. It is the creation of a space within the real one, a space that borrows elements from the real space, situations and actions, archives and drawings in order to offer, in the end, a strange reflection of the real space, a “heterotopia”, that exists and is determined by a system of rules referring to ethics and aesthetics codes”.

The President of the Board of Trustees of the State Museum of Contemporary Art, George V. Tsaras explains: “We aim to establish the city of Thessaloniki as a meeting point where artists and art theoreticians can collaborate. We would like to bring the cultural institutions of the city together. To suggest and insinuate contemporary and enterprising artistic activities which dare to stray from the globalization tendency of deterioration and leveling, in order to support cultural singularity, to respect identity and diversity, and to equally accentuate local as well as universal qualities. The 1st Biennale’s theme, “Heterotopias” emphasizes the dynamics of a living and vivid cultural foundation which draws from incentives and inspires creation, which accepts and then emits. The diversity that we are defending with this organization is by no means established by the mediums or techniques that are used, nor does it rely on the folkloric exploitation of our cultural identity, but rather, it is sustained by our faith in the ecumenical and at the same time subjective nature of artistic expression and communication. More than a prominent artistic event, every biennale constitutes an attitude for the international scene and the issues that concern the world. They also play a prominent political and humanitarian role as they shape the ways in which each society comprehends the world around it. In this sense, the art of our days constitutes one of the few stages of resistance against a dominating, globalized system which has invaded everything, including artistic expression”.

The Biennale’s website www.thessalonikibiennale.gr contains all the exhibitions and events of the parallel and concurrent programme (with exact dates of openings and durations) which will take place throughout the city in collaboration with many cultural institutions: Guest Artist: Leda Papakonstantinou Title of the Piece : “In the name of” (September 2007), Exhibition-Project: Public Screen (September 2007), Closing Multi-disciplinary Conference “The Meaning of the Heterotopia in the Arts” (September 2007), Educational Programme: “The Biennale goesto school!”, the 3rd Children’s Biennale, The International Workshop of Young Artists, Project “Farkadona”, Exhibition of printmaking “Heterotypias-Heterotypies”

Exhibition of 15 Greek Visual Artists “Recreation-maid in Greece”, Exhibition of 27 visual artists from Greece and abroad with the title “Who is there?” (May – June), Project “OUF!” Exhibition “Other Spaces”, Happening “The Concept of Symposium”, “The Mystery Festival”, Collaboration with art galleries of Thessaloniki. Welcome!

For further information
Press office
Yiota Sotiropoulou / 6972336261
[t] 2310- 589152 [f] 2310- 589210, press@greekstatemuseum.com

Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art

Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art
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