Based on the rich history of such events - MMSU organised the legendary Biennial of Young Yugoslav Artists (1960-1991) followed by the Biennial of Young Mediterranean Artists (1993-1997) - the present manifestation takes into consideration the diplomatic initiative of Quadrilateral which, since 2002, has encompassed the states of Croatia, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia. All of these neighbouring and independent states have at one time and in different combinations, been a part of one and the same state. Presently, three of them are members of the European Union, while Croatia awaits the next round of EU enlargement. However, cultural unity and links within the region, largely disrupted during the turbulent XX century, are soon to be revised to the past level of intensity. By its geographic position and cultural habitus, the city of Rijeka represents an ideal converging point of influences, ideas and experiences from East and West, Mitteleurope and Mediterranean . The biennial aims to claim this position once more thus creating a space and place where regional distinctiveness can manifest itself through a globally understood language of contemporary art.
A biennial conception presupposes a curator from each of the participating countries who will propose a national selection that will further be subjugated for the selection to the joint committee singling out four artists from every country. Each biennial employs a new curatorial team thus bringing in a new theme of universality and actuality that will transcend the events' geographical confinements.
Curators of the first edition of Biennial Quadrilateral are: the art historian Giuliana Carbi, director of Trieste Contemporanea (www.tscont.ts.it); the art historian Branko Franceschi, director of MMSU in Rijeka www.mmsu.hr, a freelance artist and curator Janos Sugar and the art historian Igor Spanjol, curator at the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana (www.mg-lj.si). According to the proposal by Janos Sugar, this team has settled upon a theme of relativism, as the most adequate notion to reflect the contemporary cultural and social discourse. Together with the central exhibition in the Museum's Great Hall, in the space of 750m2, the Biennial programme includes other two manifestations: a conference for the regional art magazine publishers organized by the art historian Janka Vukmir, director of the Institute for Contemporary Art in Zagreb (www.scca.hr) and a round table discussion on relativism, organized by the philosopher Elvio Baccarini, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Rijeka (www.pefri.hr).