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The Mediterranean sea, as a geographical space, in which the current cultural and social reality is researched and studied, although yet vague and still extremely interesting due to the constant dramatic changes in recent years, with its traditional elements along with influence and impact of the global model indicated, will be again this year’s thematic of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, to be hosted from September 2013 until January 2014 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Under the general title “New Intersections-Make it New” the Thessaloniki Biennale retains, for the second time, the same spatial and cultural focus, under the strategic decision taken by the State Museum of Contemporary Art, organizer of the Biennale, on 2010 to turn its audience’s attention towards the Mediterranean Sea until 2015.
The Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is funded under the Operational Programme Macedonia-Thrace 2007-2013, is implemented by the State Museum of Contemporary Art and is co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).
Chief Curator of the main exhibition of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is Αdelina von Fürstenberg, Independent Curator and Film Producer, President of ART for The World. The title and the full program of her curatorship will be announced shortly.
As in the previous years, this year’s organization will be also hosted in museums, exhibition spaces and monuments and will be realized with the collaboration of the “5 Museums’ Movement in Thessaloniki” (namely, apart from the State Museum of Contemporary Art, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Teloglion Foundation of Art of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art). The City of Thessaloniki along with a number of other cultural and educational agencies and institutions will be also involved.
Members of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art International Advisory Committee are the following prominent art professionals: Katerina Gregos (Curator, Writer), Marieke Van Hal (Director of the Biennial Foundation), Beral Madra (Art Historian-Curator), Jan-Erik Lundström (Art Historian, Co-curator of the 1st Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art) Gabriela Salgado (Art Historian, Co-curator of the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art), Thierry Ollat (Director of the Musée d’art contemporain de Marseille), Thierry Raspail (Artistic Director of the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon).
The Director of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is Katerina Koskina, President of the Board of Trustees of the State Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Historian & Curator, who developed the Mediterranean focus of the 2011-2015 Thessaloniki Biennials.
Αdelina von Fürstenberg / Biography
Adelina Cüberyan von Fürstenberg is a Swiss citizen, from Armenian origin, born in Istanbul. She is an international and renowned curator and one of the field’s pioneers in broadening contemporary art. Mrs. von Fürstenberg took a more global and flexible approach to contemporary art exhibitions, in bringing art in spaces such as monasteries, medersas, public buildings, squares, islands, parks, etc. Her objective is to give a larger context for visual art in making it a more vigorous part of our lives, in creating a vivid dialogue for it with other arts, and relating it to worldwide issues.
During her studies of Political Sciences at the University of Geneva, Adelina von Fürstenberg founded the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, working with prominent artists, such as Sol LeWitt, Daniel Buren, General Idea, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner. In the same period she organized performances with John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Joan Jonas, Robert Wilson. Few years later until 1994, she directed Le Magasin, Centre d’Art Contemporain of Grenoble, France, where she curated large solo exhibitions of major artists, such as Vito Acconci, Alighiero Boetti, Gino De Dominicis, Ilya Kabakov, as well as symposia and lectures on architecture, science and philosophy. Furthermore, for five years she directed the Ecole du Magasin (School of Curators). In 1993 the International Jury of the 45th Venice Biennale awarded her a prize for her direction of Le Magasin and its School of Curators.
In 1995, on the occasion of the United Nations 50th Anniversary, she was invited to curate the exhibition Dialogues of Peace, an international exhibition presented at the UN Headquarters, in Geneva. In 1996 she founded Art for The World, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) for the diffusion of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through contemporary art and cinema. Mrs von Fürstenberg collaborates on yearly bases with the Regional Direction of SESC Sao Paulo, Brazil, In curating shows such as Balcan Erotic Epics by Marina Abramovic (2006), Voom Portraits by Robert Wilson (2008), Urban Manners (2010) on Indian contemporary art for the first time in South America, and more recently The Mediterranean Approach (2012), an itinerant exhibition presented previously at Palazzo Zenobio in Venice (2011) and in Marseille at the mac – Museum of Contemporary Art. Her most recent project is FOOD, a large show with 31 artists exploring the fascinating question of food, simultaneously dealing with survival, health, economy and culture. The FOOD project is organized in partnership with Spazio Oberdan Milan, SESC Sao Paulo and MuCEM (Museum of Civilizations of Europe and Mediterranean), Marseille.
Parallel to the art shows, Adelina von Fürstenberg is also a Film Producer and between 2008 and 2011, she conceived and produced for the European Commission, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council of Europe, 29 short fiction movies with well known independent filmmakers form all over the world, on the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Note of intention by Adelina von Fürstenberg for the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art
“The Mediterranean Sea is similar to a belt encircling the center of the world.”
Aelius Aristides (AD 117 – 181)
The Mediterranean Sea has always been a place of exchanges. Around the “Mare Nostrum” several civilizations have contributed to the growth and the political, economical, artistic and technological development of the area. On the other hand, its borders are observatories of certainties and perplexities, of difference between nations, religions, and cultures, areas of geographical and historical contacts between wealth and poverty, political stability and insecurity.
In this perspective, we are witnesses since decades, of a succession of crises and civil wars all around the Mediterranean Sea. The natural environment as well is constantly hit by the violence, e.g., the forests of cedars of Lebanon are totally destroyed by the war that ravaged the country. The war in Syria is decimating the population and polluting its territory with the tangible remnants of violent confrontations. The oil spill in the transportation of fuel frequently causes adverse effects on natural resources of the sea, besides the various fires ravaging every year the coasts of the Mediterranean and destroying olive groves, vineyards and countryside. In the last few years we are also facing heavy economic crises as well as identity crises all over in the main Mediterranean areas.
To the question: can we consider artistic creation as a valuable source of identified resistance and a modern challenge to this disorientation? In other words, which is and will be the role of art in the visible transformation of our contemporary world, particularly in countries around the Mediterranean?
The routes that cross the Mediterranean once belonged to the merchants, pirates and conquerors, have become today, for the artists of this area, the routes towards knowledge and creativity.
Thus, here, the arts (visual arts, cinema, music, poetry,..) are more than elsewhere, one of the most effective tools to foster the development of human relations, and especially in the actual context of political, ideological or social cleavages. Meanwhile, through their universal language, the artists are giving us a better understanding of ourselves, others, and of the much larger human landscape in which we operate.
We all know that the Mediterranean Sea is much more than a geographical expression. Referring to the amalgams of peoples, cultures and mentalities, it is a door open between East and West; a meeting point of three continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the west Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean. In the northeast the Marmara Sea, the Dardanelles, and the Bosporus link it with the Black Sea and Central Asia. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea in the southeast. In this context, in addition of Greek and Mediterranean artists that I will select, the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art will also include artists coming from other continents, as well as from other generations, using different languages.
The works of art will be installed with a specific curatorial criterion based on the respect of the environment, the architecture of the proposed spaces, the past and present history of Thessaloniki as well as on the links between the different languages.
In the register of wonder that true art is for every human being, I wish to make the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art an interactive, powerful and subtle artistic face-to-face, where the public, in meeting the artists and their work and exchanging experiences and knowledge, will rediscover today’s composite artistic realities around the Mediterranean, and further more.
The exhibitions and the program of the 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, the ideological framework, the collaborating organizations and the exhibition venues, will be announced in a press conference in Thessaloniki.
HELLENIC MINISTRY OF EDUCATION & RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS, CULTURE & SPORTS
GENERAL SECRETARY OF CULTURE
STATE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
21 Kolokotroni St., Stavroupoli 56430, Thessaloniki, Greece