The 16th Biennale of Sport in Modern Art in Thessaloniki
An Initiative of the Ministry of Sport

At the initiative of the Deputy Ministry of Sport, Thessaloniki will play host to the most significant Biennale of artists that links modern art to sport. The aim is to have this event become a cultural and artistic event of prime importance for Europe and the Mediterranean region.
The 16th Biennale of Sport in Art (Bienal Internacional del Deporte en el Arte) – BIDA – will be held from 7 to 30 September 2005 in cooperation with the Consejo Superior de Deportes of Spain within the framework of 2005 – the International Year of Sport and Physical Education and the 17th European Conference on Sport. Important modern artists from Europe and the Mediterranean will be taking part and Greece shall participate as the country being honoured.
Following a proposal by the Deputy Ministry of Sport, this international Biennale will be held for the first time outside Spain and the works will be displayed in the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art and the Kautanzogleio National Stadium in Thessaloniki. At the end of the exhibition the works will be transported to Seville in Spain to be exhibited in November at the La Atarazanas Imperial Shipyard, a 13th century cultural monument of great historic significance.
The opening of the exhibition will be held on Saturday, 10 September 2005 at 6:30 pm at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art.
The aim of the event is to give the public the opportunity to look at the exciting world of sport with a different eye, through the eyes of modern art and thus contribute to a broadening of the concept of Culture.
The Greek artists, who shall be representing different generations, are: Manolis Babousis, Dimitris Xonoglou, Yorgos Lazongas, Leda Papakonstantinou, Danae Stratou, Chrysi Tsiota, Efi Halyvopoulou, Ersi Hatziargyrou, Elli Chryssidou, Alexandros Psychoulis, and Yioula Hadjigeorgiou (Cyprus).
The artists from other Mediterranean countries are: Fernando Baena (Spain), Yoav Ben-David (Israel), Juan Carlos Bracho (Spain), Joan Cortes (Spain), Javier Grandes (Spain), Rula Hallawani (Palestine), Frederique Lecerf (France), Clara Montoya (Spain), Tobias Putrih (Slovenia), Daniel Vega (Spain), and José Luis Vicario (Spain).
The presentation of BIDA 2005 in two different countries of the North and South (that both belong in the European Mediterranean), is reinforced by the initiative of the Deputy Ministry of Sport, so that the event can transcend the boundaries of a Museum of Modern Art (in this case the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art). For the first time, an event of this sort will be held in and around a purely sport environment, at the Kautanzogleio National Stadium in Thessaloniki, where the works (installations, videos, photography) will be exhibited. A lively and active public space, an area where athletes of all ages exercise and train and where sporting matches are held, will host an artistic "marathon" that shall temporarily transform an athletic stadium into a stadium for sport and art.
"One year after the successful staging of the Olympic Games, which were unquestionably a sporting and cultural event of paramount importance on a global scale, the staging of the 16th International Biennale of Sport in Art, – BIDA 2005 – signals a daring venture, as well as a generous overture of friendship by sport to modern art. BIDA is the only international Biennale dedicated exclusively to Sports in Modern Art. This event, in which various cities host the work of various artists, has been organised with great success ever since 1967. This year’s event hosts 28 artists from Europe and the Mediterranean and it is innovative for two reasons: the first that Greece is the country being honoured and will be represented by 11 contemporary artists of different generations. The second reason is that the exhibition will be held in one of the most important historical sites in Andalusia which was inaugurated last year after a many years restoration work. This important decision to hold BIDA simultaneously in two countries with long and historical cultural exchanges, marks a new era of support for and promotion of modern artistic creativity with regard to modern Sport. The international Biennale of Sport in Art constitutes, furthermore, a bridge of friendship and cooperation between two countries with a long tradition of common cultural initiatives. Both Greece and Spain support Sport, Education and Culture, as constituent foundations of the modern European edifice. The successful Olympic and Paralympic Games of Athens in 2004 redefined Greece’s place in the global geopolitical and cultural map. The Ministry of Sports’ long term planning of cultural programmes and exchanges could constitute a catalyst and effective vehicle for the promotion, enhancement and equitable contribution of modern Greek artistic creation in the international art arena. I am confident of the success of the exhibition and its appeal, particularly to the youth of our country, and our hope is that it can become one of the most important exhibition events in the cultural life of Thessalonica and our country in general.", noted the Deputy Minister for Culture, Responsible for Sport, Mr. George Orfanos. The creative director of the event, Ms. Marta Moriarty, noted, "We hope that BIDA 2005 will be, as the ones in the past were, not only a Biennale that affects the world of sport, but also one of the most significant and interesting events in the cultural life of the county; an event that has inherent cultural value and one that will make a favourable impression both in the world of sport and that of art. Our aim is for BIDA 2005 to constitute an integrated exhibition with internal solidity that will continue the dialectic that we began four years ago."
"In Greece, the laden historical past and the undying memories of the archaeological Olympic Spirit, have influenced and inspired modern Greek art in a manner that is essentially conservative and strictly iconographic. The works presented in important international exhibitions on sport and modern games that have been held in the last few years have shown us that these subjects have been approached and interpreted by modern artists through multifaceted innovative proposals, using contemporary technological tools and revised aesthetic parameters", notes the art theoretician and co-curator of the Greek team, Dr Sania Papa.
Dr Papa notes that, "For the first time in Greece, the general public will have the opportunity to look into a different dimension: the dialogue and communication between modern artistic trends and proposals with modern sport and the enduring history of Olympism. It is worth noting that the works presented are originals. The fact that the viewing public will be from the worlds of art and sport, as well as from the world of education, makes the Ministry’s initiative an interesting, bold and innovative one. The study and analysis by important sociologists, philosophers and art historians of the world of modern sport and "noble rivalry" has attracted the interest of an ever-increasing number of artists who explore similar or contrasting concepts such as endurance, finishing, speed, transcending physical and spiritual limits, the apotheosis of the champion, championship, rivalry, competition, the trophy, the winner, the goal, victory, the super-body, the super-human body, stadium rebels (Umberto Eco), the battle for victory, the war of the stadiums etc. In any case, the modern artist is a modern marathon runner while modern art itself could be seen as another sort of alternative sport."
Parallel Events for BIDA 2005
During the exhibition, on 18 and 19 September, the choreographer Constantinos Rigos will stage a performance at both the exhibition sites. The event will include dance, video projections, live music and singing. Photographs of his work at the OAKA (Athens Olympic Sports Complex) taken by the photographers Tasos Vrettos and Charis Pallas will also be presented. These photographs will also be presented at the Asteras Hotel in Vouliagmeni within the framework of the European Conference on Sport. Also to be presented on 24 to 26 September, both in Thessaloniki and the Conference in Athens, is the work of the artist Sia Kyriakakos: videos and photographs from a performance event in which the enthusiasm of children becomes transformed into an athlete thus identifying game with competition in a manner brings joy and revives both the body and spirit.