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Jan 07. 2015
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From Singapore to Florence, eight Biennales await in 2015

DURING 2014, we witnessed several influential biennales that inspired our thoughts on art and life and 2015 promises more of the same.

Singapore, Venice, Sharjah and Beijing are among the several cities staging biennales in the year ahead.

Singapore Biennale

l When: March 1-May 3

l Curators: Fumio Nanjo, Roger MacDonald, Sharmini Pereira and Eugene Tan

l Theme: “We are Asia”

Launched in 2006 on the theme “Belief”, the major contemporary art event covers paintings, installations, multimedia, performance, photographs, murals and furniture.

Singapore is dedicated to forging itself as an important portal to contemporary art in Asia, and so is the Singapore Biennale.

Sharjah Biennial

l When: March 5-June 5

l Curator: Eungie Joo

l Theme: “Past, Present, and Possibility”

Sharjah is the third largest emirate within the United Arab Emirates, and is just nine kilometres from Dubai. Launched in 1997, the Sharjah Biennial has been held successfully for 11 sessions. Chinese artists Wang Jianwei and Yang Fudong have participated and 50 artist from 25 countries are invited to the 2015 edition.

Venice Biennale

l When: May 9-November 22

l Curator: Okwui Enwezor

l Theme: “The Whole World’s Future”

Launched in 1895, the Venice Biennale boasts a long history and much fame in the world. It has become a window into the art world of Italy and is one of the major art festivals in Europe. Dozens of countries and regions come to the show. The curator hopes the biennale can inspire people to explore the changes and developments in today’s world.

Biennial of Havana

l When: May 22-June 22

l Curator: Eight curators from the Wifredo Lam contemporary art centre

l Theme: “Between Thought and Experience”

The Biennial of Havana concentrates on non-Western artists and promotes the contemporary art development in so-called Third World countries. It debuted in 1984 and only invited artists from the Caribbean and Latin America at that time. Later, it included artists from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This 12th biennale, originally scheduled for 2014, was postponed to this year.

Istanbul Biennial

l When: September 5-November 1

l Curator: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

l Theme: “Seawater: A Kind of Theory in the Form of Thinking”

Launched in 1987, the biennale has become one of the most important art events in the Islamic world, despite receiving little support from public funds. Christov- Bakargiev compares artwork to seawater, noting that it has different temperatures, salinity and waves, and exerts subtle influence on this world in the visible and invisible way.

The biennale will present works from more than 50 visual artists.

Lyon Biennial

l When: September 10-January 3

l Curator: Ralph Rugoff

l Theme: “Modern”

The Lyon Biennale was established in 1991 by Thierry Raspail, and has become an influential art exhibition in France. Before each exhibition, Raspail will invite a curator to plan three sessions centring on a keyword. The 2015 fest’s curator Ralph Rugoff will unveil the prelude of the new trilogy during 2015-2019 surrounding “modern”.

“Modern,” he explains, “does not represent modernism, but more “the modern time”, which stands for novelty and uncertainty.

Beijing International Art Biennial

l When: September

l Theme: “Memory and Dream”

The biennale has enjoyed five successful editions since 2003 and is regarded as the “Chinese pivot for contemporary international paintings and sculptures” by foreign artists. The sixth biennale is collecting artworks that are impressive, like memories, and magical, like dreams. It aims to link people’s memories and dreams worldwide with art, and set up a bridge between the East and West, the traditional and modern world.

Florence Biennial

l When: October 17-25

l Theme: “Events within Events”

The Florence Biennale was founded at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, by Pasquale and Piero Celona in 1997. It is one of the independent contemporary art platforms and art festivals in the world. The biennale’s judges are all noted artists from world famous museums and art


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