Our new author Aurora Sinistra summarized her impression of the Bregenz Biennial at 20:34 on August 14th 2016 in an instant,

– „Wicked!“

Jamie Allen, Getting in the Way of the Sun (Another Anthropocenic Sunset). Imagine your thumb is a moon. Eclipse the sun as it sets. August 14, 2016. #2034.
Jamie Allen, Getting in the Way of the Sun (Another Anthropocenic Sunset). Imagine your thumb is a moon. Eclipse the sun as it sets. August 14, 2016. #2034. Photo by DK.

How Much Time Does One Need To Grasp NOW?

According to the curators of this year’s Bregenz Biennial 60 seconds should be enough. It was only a flare of the contemporary on Lake Constance that complimented Europe’s more or less sparkling art spectacles in Berlin and Zurich this year with a convincing response.

The corporate aesthetics of biennials and their soft-colonizing effects have been debated over several years now – not only behind closed doors. To some it seems baffling with how much effort post-colonialism is asserted when at the same time certain aesthetic values are carted around the world and displace or marginalize indigenous art forms as well as local scenes that have grown after generations. Anne Szefer Karlsen and Arne Skaug Olsen both authors and artists have expressed this quite pointed in the introductory text of a book in critique of the Bergen Biennial in 2009,

“The biennale occupies the art world in the same way pizza occupies the
culinary landscape. Just like the nation states needed their museums
to signal cultural independence, the biennale today is used to
indicate global agency.“

— Anne Szefer Karlsen and Arne Skaug Olsen: Introduction to
Localised”, CTRL-Z Publishing, 2009

Of course, fermented fish called Surströmming in the Baltics is not as appetizing and sexy as melting cheese on a bubbling pizza-disc.

Yet cultural exchange is an undeniable enrichment to the human mind!

But how can artists engage through art in consideration of the local?

The Bregenz Biennale proposes an affirmative critique through the engagement with the IMAGINARY.

The participating artists articulated 32 imaginative blueprints and invisible artworks on postcards. The front side printed with an image of the sunset over Lake Canstance. Visitors of the Bregenz Biennale 2016 are asked to take a card and create the immaterial for themselves.

One instruction, which may be read closest to the standard educational program you find mediating the meaning of contemporary art, is an “unguided tour” proposed by Bernhard Garnicnig.

It reads,

“Can you imagine? An unguided tour
Welcome to an unguided tour through the bregenz biennale 2016.
It presents imaginary artworks by 32 international artists.
Take one or several postcards.
Leave the museum.”

That’s a deal!

I take three postcards and exit the museum building within 60 seconds to enjoy the air and alpine panorama outside.

There’s a fun fact to the whole game. All participating artists declared the sunset on 14.08.2016 a work of art so I decided to sit outside at dusk with friends and a bottle of what the locals call “Alpine Cocaine”. We had a lot of fun!

Participating artists: Jamie Allen, Albert Allgaier, Simone Borghi, Sean J Patrick Carney, Martin Chramosta, Claude Closky, Constant Dullaart, Fabian Faltin, Karin Ferrari, Alec Finlay, Peter Fritzenwallner, Michele Gabriele, Bernhard Garnicnig, Thomas Geiger, Katharina Höglinger, Barbara Anna Husar, Lisa Kainz, Lital Khaikin, Rick Lins, Romain Mader, Maria Maeser, Fernando Mesquita, Marco Rios, Lina Rukevičiūtė & Lina Zaveckytė, Driton Selmani, Lena Sieder-Semlitsch, Benjamin Tomasi, GRUPPE UNO WIEN, Noburo Watanabe, Seth Weiner and Arnaud Wohlhauser.

Unfortunately, others seemed to be in company of a Debbie Downer causing an eclipse with their fingers… Apropos fingers, “thumbs up” in Iran is equivalent with the West`s “Fuck You”. Nevertheless, this inversion of gestures serves as bridge to our subsequent review of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition translocation – transformation at 21er Haus Vienna.

So stay on line!

Ai Weiwei, "Perspectives", 1995-2010.
Ai Weiwei, „Perspectives“, 1995-2010.