First Contemporary Art Biennale Of Thessaloniki - Heterotopias

Ideological framework

Thessaloniki, a historically extrovert city and cultural meeting place, has the ability to become a repository for new ideas on art from countries traditionally associated with art as well as from geographical locations that have limited access to Europe (financial, cultural or institutional limitations).
Furthermore, as a European city strategically located, Thessaloniki has the ability to encourage the coexistence of often contradicting cultural identities and provide the grounds for constructive discourse to its representatives (e.g. East-West).
Contrary to European and international laws that often hinder border-crossing (special permits, visas etc.), art has no borders, it moves freely. Therefore, encouraging the discourse in art contributes to the decline of fanaticism, racism and xenophobia.

Through culture, Thessaloniki can become a crossroads for religions, minorities and national confrontations.
The main characteristics of the Thessaloniki Biennale are:

  • The introduction of works of art that propose new, innovative and bold aesthetics to the European art scene as a means of promoting the aforementioned discourse.
  • The presentation of artists that have little or no access to Europe, thus launching a new generation of artists previously unknown in Europe.
  • The aspiration of providing the grounds for communication between artists from different parts of the world.
  • The emphasis on important international issues and global changes and crises that influence our lives as well as our natural environment.
  • The creation of partnerships and collaborations with well-established international art institutions, in order to promote artistic exchange.
  • The formation of an interesting aesthetic discourse for Greek artists that brings them in touch with art outside of Europe.

Thessaloniki is a peripheral European city, something that this Biennale uses to its advantage. The distance it has from the major European art centres (large sponsors, companies or individuals that invest in mainstream contemporary art) provides it with the vital freedom to reinforce and attract innovative ideas and contribute to the essential evolution of art as opposed to recycling it.

General characteristics of the Biennale

Under the general title “Heterotopias”, the Biennale is comprised of three subsections, each with its own curator and title. The three sections will present their curators&8217; statements on the subject. Given their experience in particular countries or geographical regions, the three curators Jan-Erik Lundstrom, Catherine David and Maria Tsantsanoglou will also propose artists from these regions. Overall, more than 100 artists from Greece and abroad will participate in the Biennale.

It’s also worth mentioning that art historian Thalia Stefanidou will curate an exhibition with Greek artists, which will most probably be held at the Aladza Imaret space. There will also be a Children&8217;s Painting Biennale at the ETAIREIA MAKEDONIKON SPOUDON, as well as a series of parallel events which will include music, dance, symposiums, workshops, outdoor installations and performances relevant to Biennale&8217;s theme. Furthermore, the State Museum of Contemporary Art is discussing with the National Book Centre to co-organize a special tribute to art publications during the International Book Fair, as it coincides with the First Biennale. Finally, the Biennale will include an internationally renowned guest artist, whose name will be announced shortly.

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