PRESS CONFERENCE AT PAVILION UNICREDIT: ANNE BARLOW PRESENTS “TACTICS FOR HERE AND NOW” THE CONCEPT OF BUCHAREST BIENNALE 5
On 31st of May, 2011, PAVILION UNICREDIT hosted the press conference in which, Anne Barlow, the appointed curator of BUCHAREST BIENNALE 5, presented the concept of the biennale, under the title TACTICS FOR HERE AND NOW.
Anne Barlow (born in Glasgow, Scotland), the appointed Curator of BB5, is Executive Director of Art in General, New York.
After receiving an M. A. in the History of Art at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, Barlow acted as Curator of the Scottish Arts Council Collection of contemporary art (1989-1994) and Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Glasgow Museums (1994-1999), where she managed a temporary exhibitions program, contemporary art and design collection, artists’ residencies, and new commissions. From 1999-2006, she was Curator of Education and Media Programs at the New Museum, New York, where she oversaw the scope of the museum’s educational and public programs; initiated and developed Museum as Hub, a global network initiative that connected the museum with international contemporary art partners in Cairo, Eindhoven, Mexico City and Seoul; organized inter-disciplinary roundtables with leaders in the fields of the visual arts, architecture, and design; and curated numerous exhibitions and performances.
Independently, she also collaborated on the exhibition Copy It, Steal It, Share it at Borusan Art Gallery, Istanbul (2003), and guest-curated film and media projects for Threshold Artspace, Perth, Scotland (2007). Barlow has published for organizations including Liverpool University Press/Tate Gallery Liverpool; the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, United Kingdom; the Edith Russ House for Media Art, Oldenburg; the New Museum, New York; and Art in General. She was also a lecturer/ guest critic for organizations including the Royal College of Art, London; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; MUMOK, Vienna; New York University; The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London.
TACTICS FOR THE HERE AND NOW
Within the current context of the shifting nature of economics, society and culture—situations that often referred to as “precarious times”— artists often have to negotiate risky positions, contested territories, or situations in which cultural activity interacts with, or provides a counterpoint to, conditions of flux. Within this context, Bucharest Biennale 5 profiles the work of artists whose agency lies not necessarily in overt statements, but rather in investigative, indirect, or informal strategies that possess their own kind of power.
By nature, work that is investigative is slow in the making, expressing a kind of resistance to both the speed and changing nature of things and the increasing sense of instability that pervades everyday life. The act of researching, uncovering, and presenting things that are just below the surface—an activity that has been aided by the Internet as a space in which artists can more actively seek out information that is “missing or hidden” —defines the way in which many artists work today. On one hand, this can an element of rumor, secrets being revealed through seduction or manipulation, or ideas that are communicated or altered in some way through transmission. On the other, it can be seen as a reworking of specific histories, from the civic to the personal, that produce a different kind of “knowledge” that is not necessarily about nostalgia or narrative , but more about presenting a complex and contemporary perspective on life. Artists’ projects for specific spaces and contexts in Bucharest will draw on a variety of sources and sites, as a way of refreshing dialogue around older topics, re-imagining specific narratives, or proposing new ones.
Often, artists also circumvent existing systems as a way of responding to social and political contexts that are less predictable. Their way of working reflects a practice that is more “evolving, dynamic and responsive, difficult to pin down, essential for situations that change quickly or are not yet fully understood.” For some artists, working with informal structures means working together, for others, it means developing approaches that are distinctly personal and individual. The deployment of informal strategies is something that is resonant in a city such as Bucharest, among others, where more formal systems do not necessarily seem to support the most experimental art practice.
In terms of its format, the Biennale will be developed around a number of core commissioned projects that will take place in identified sites such Pavilion and other educational contexts, and ideally public venues and spaces in the city, such as public squares, billboards, media screens, and storefronts. While the visual arts form the core of the Biennale, other disciplines such as literature and film will be woven into the overall program, providing a format that involves an ‘exhibition’ at the opening but that also develops dynamically over the duration of the biennale.
The education program will manifest itself in the biennale through the creation of “spaces for thinking” in the way in which both the exhibition and public programs are put together. The Biennale program will arouse public curiosity and greater engagement through various means: components that evolve over time or that draw on the idea of repetition; modes of engagement that are both formal and informal in structure; connectivity to other disciplines; longer-term involvement by artists through specific relationships with partner institutions/sites; and elements of surprise and playfulness in addition to more theory-based events; and public events and projects.
The notion of the informal builds on existing strategies evident in Bucharest, and it is a clear component of Pavilion’s Free Academy: “What makes the difference between the formal system proposed by the official state power network through the ministry and informal education, proposed by the Free Academy project, is the creation of what appears in the educational discourse as an “active citizen”- that type of citizen that participates in the social debate, that is an agent of change, that proposes the terms of development, that has the attitude resources and competences to get involved.” (Eugen Radescu)
For more informations, visit www.bucharestbiennale.com.
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