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Post-contemporary Art

Young Curators Workshop in conjunction with the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Ten years ago, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art founded the Young Curators Workshop together with its collaborative partners to facilitate a theoretical and practical professionalization for curators from all over the world. The workshop fosters discussions surrounding curatorial topics and practices with the aim of strengthening the initiative and international exchange of young curators. In 2016, philosopher Armen Avanessian conceived the Young Curators Workshop for 13 participants from 11 countries and titled the program and accompanying public events Post-contemporary Art.

Emerging curators face a lack of stable employment and adequate financial compensation. Ten days of workshops and various activities—seminars, studio- and exhibition visits, and meetings with established artists and curators— were held in response to these precarious conditions. In addition to enhancing the professional networks of the participants, this workshop strived to establish concrete projects and exhibition formats that encouragedthe development of a curatorial ethos. The Young Curators Workshop was conceived to build new durable infrastructures.

The theory of the post-contemporary served as thematic backdrop for this year’s workshop: according to Armen Avanessian, contemporary art has largely become a booming decorative-cognitive industry because of the strong alliance it has built with the politico-economic reality of neoliberal capitalism over the past decades. Now that the (denunciatory) gesture of critique has itself become institutionalized, and due to the stabilizing of extant political and economical systems, a younger generation of artists and curators increasingly accept art first and foremost as an economy, exploring the institutionally transformative potential of artworks (or indeed art itself) in the context of a brand. Instead of exposing or critiquing institutional mechanisms, the focus of these post-contemporary artistic practices is on mobilizing these mechanisms and testing the limits of their progressive tendencies.

The questions that are emerging within post-contemporary art also served as the cornerstones of the workshop: Can biennials and similar platforms also function as launch pads for less self-effacing institutions and openly strategic infrastructure-building? How can the capital flows currently overcoming older forms of sovereignty—such as the nation-state as particularly relevant for the organization of the biennial format—be channeled in more politically progressive directions?

Participants of the Workshop

  • Vivek Chockalingam, lives and works in Bangalore, IN
  • Rachel Dedman, lives and works in Beirut, LB
  • Kris Dittel, lives and works in Amsterdam, NL
  • Marina Reyes Franco, lives and works in San Juan, PR
  • Chabib Duta Hapsoro, lives and works in Bandung, IND
  • Patricia Margarita Hernandez, lives and works in New York, US
  • Sonia Kazovsky, lives and works in Amsterdam, NL
  • Jaõa Filipe Rebosa Laia, lives and works in London, GB
  • Sophie Lapalu, lives and works in Paris, FR
  • Kabelo Malatsie, lives and works in Johannesburg, SA
  • Dan Meththananda, lives and works in London, GB
  • Mahan Moalemi, lives and works in Tehran, IR
  • Natalia Sielewicz, lives and works in Warsaw, PL

Public Program

Saturday, 10.9.2016
Post-contemporary Art
Panel discussion with Victoria Ivanova, Suhail Malik, and Tirdad Zolghadr, moderated by Armen Avanessian
Studiolo, KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Monday, 12.9.2016
Future Institutions
Panel discussion with Chris Dercon, Krist Gruijthuijsen, and Julia Stoschek, moderated by Armen Avanessian
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz

Other Guests and Speakers

Elke aus dem Moore, Maike Cruse, Kathleen Ditzig,Bassam El Baroni, Anselm Franke, Gabriele Horn, Ana Janevski, Katrin Klingan, Alexander Martos, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Georgia Sagri, Bernd M. Scherer, Alya Sebti, Adam Szymczyk, Joanna Warsza, Antje Weitzel and others.

The Young Curators Workshop Post-contemporary Art was a cooperation between Allianz Cultural Foundation, BMW Group, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), and the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. The participation of one French curator was made possible by the program Jeunes Commissaires of Bureau des arts plastiques of the Institut français Germany.

The Young Curators Workshop was conceived by Armen Avanessian and organized by Maurin Dietrich, Krisztina Hunya, and Valerie Amend.

The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art was organized by KW Institute for Contemporary Art and funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).