Collaboration, Cultural Diplomacy and Conflicting Representations in Contemporary Art Biennials

    • federica
    • Presentation speakers
      • Federica Martini Schellenberg , Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland

    Since the first Venice Biennale in 1895 to the contemporary art system, biennales have increasingly provided a venue to reflect on the politics of representation of international art and, more recently, on the challenges brought about by globalization.
    Today, almost two hundred biennales are active in the world. They thus provide a privileged observation point on how cultural and national identities are represented in official culture; on the dialectic centre/margins in the geography of artistic production; on the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion in the international artistic scene; and on the «ethnophilia» of the contemporary art system.
    In the European context, the fall of the Berlin wall has authorized the creation of new forms of international exhibitions and biennials, such as the Manifesta, started in 1996 as an itinerant, pan-European perennial exhibition based on a principle of collaboration and not on competition between nations, as in the original Venetian model.
    Focusing on three exhibition experiences – Robert Filliou’s Biennial of Peace (Amsterdam, 1985), On taking a normal situation and retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present (1993, Antwerpen), the 2006 unrealized Manifesta of Cyprus – the intervention will reflect on different models of international collaboration and cultural diplomacy in European identity exhibitions.