Fine Art Critical Debate – Biennial

What is a biennial? A festival for contemporary arts that take place every two years, like the Venice Biennial

Cultural Capital; Pierre Bordieu 1977

Includes all the assets a person has which gives them social mobility. This includes personal abilities and commodities. Institutions as well as individuals can acquire (and lose) Cultural Capital.

Venice Biennial founded 1895 was the first Biennial

Peter Schjeldahl, Festivalism, The New Yorker July 5 1999 p.86 TEXT

“What is festival art?” Anything that commands a space in a way that’s diverting but not too absorbing. It’s Anti-Contemplative.

At the time the biennial was very different to the public museums, however nowadays the public museums have caught up.

Venice Biennial contains large artworks, often abstracted. The Scottish Pavilion looks like something you wouldn’t see in Cardiff. The organisation of Biennial is very different to a museum.


Organisation: How is the Biennale organized?

There is an international show in the Arsenale and the Gardini. There are national pavilions in the Arsenale, Gardini and around Venice.

Biennale always has spaces for all countries, this layout means someone from a less advantageous area have and equal footing as somewhere who is privileged (e. g and Iranian artist)

By organizing the Biennale by country then if an artist lives in a different country but shows in their home country how to chose the place to display it?

A new curator is appointed each Biennale Christine Macel – “The exhibition is intended as an experience”

The curated show is organized into 9 main areas:

  1. The Pavilion of artists & books
  2. The Pavilion of joys & fears
  3. The Pavilion of the common
  4. The Pavilion of the earth
  5. The Pavilion of traditions
  6. The Pavilion of Shamans
  7. The Dionysian Pavilion
  8. The Pavilion of Colours
  9. The Pavilion of Time & Infinity

The idea of contemporary art should fit into at least one category, Does it?


What is the point of a Biennale?

  1. A biennial gives an overview of contemporary art and a particular time
  2. A biennial is a challenge to the institutions of art
  3. A biennial is a challenge to critical orthodoxy
  4. Its an argument to the nature of contemporary art

How does a biennial challenge the institutions of art?

JASON DODGE, What the living do, 2016 (Tate Liverpool)

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 17.36.44


Artes Mundi, might be easily contained within the museum (and Chapter)

AMY FRANCHESINI + FUTURE FARMERS at artes mundi 7,2016

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 17.39.06


The piece felt uncomfortable in this location and potentially needed to be shown elsewhere


Challenge to the Venice Biennale?

SANTIAGO SIERRA, 133 persons paid to have their hair dyed blonde, 2001


Sierra also challenged the critique of NATIONALISM by putting the Spanish border control to get into the Spanish Pavilion

How does Biennial challenge critical orthodoxy?

Because the Biennale creates a ‘canon’ to create a new ‘canon’


What does the Biennial say about contemporary art?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.