artcore journal

artcore journal

CRAZYCURATORS BIENNALE by Katarína Slaninová

Bratislava, Slovakia

Crazycurators Biennale seeks to explore the impetus, various formats, and strategies of a biennial by instilling a unique concept based on the intimate face-to-face collaboration between an artist and a curator. This creates an opposite to the missing aspect of collaboration between artist and curator that are often missing from massive biennials that have been emerging around the world.

For the Crazycurators Biennale each curator chooses one artist to work with. Paradoxically, he/she loses a chance to be a curator in the proper meaning of the term and the artist essentially curates his or her own exhibition in the framework of a biennial. Additionally, the selection of an artists’ project is not governed by a given theme, nor is it extremely abstract, which is usually true for major biennials.

Special emphasis is placed on artists, curators, and organizations that are still relatively unknown abroad, but whose work is of a sufficient quality and interest, to be introduced to international circles. Additionally, there are curators and artists who are well established in the international art scene that are presented alongside emerging artists, which gives the Crazycurators Biennale a global and diversely experienced reach.

Crazycurators Biennale emerged from an international network of art institutions and curators in Central Europe. The impulse for the 1st edition in 2006 was prompted by a lack of a biennial format in the Slovak region. The need to provide a professional platform for critical discourse in the field of contemporary art that reflected the art scenes of Central Europe played a vital role in the biennial’s inception. Furthermore, the biennial aimed to present these thriving locals as fully-fledged participants in the international art scene. As time went on the involvement of countries such as Germany, the U.S., Italy, Armenia, and Indonesia, (in the beginning the biennial presented artists from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovenia) brought forth a more in depth range of dialogical discussions dealing with the similarities and differences of the art scenes from various historical, cultural, and political backgrounds.

During each biennial a jury made up of the participating curators awards one artist with the Crazycurators Award.

Mira Gáberová’s project, Sometimes I want to be everything, sometimes I want to be nothing (2010) in cooperation with Peter Barényi, Jana Kapelová, Lenka Klimešová, Martina Slováková, Ivan Svoboda, and Mária Štefančíková is a video installation that exemplifies the Crazycurators Biennial’s interest in creating and establishing meaningful collaborations between artists and curators.

Mira Gáberová (in cooperation with Peter Barényi, Jana Kapelová, Lenka Klimešová, Martina Slováková, Ivan Svoboda, Mária Štefančíková), Sometimes I want to be everything, sometimes I want to be nothing, video installation, 2010SLOVAKIA, curated by Katarína Slaninová. Image courtesy of the author.

Mira Gáberová (in cooperation with Peter Barényi, Jana Kapelová, Lenka Klimešová, Martina Slováková, Ivan Svoboda, Mária Štefančíková), Sometimes I want to be everything, sometimes I want to be nothing, video installation, 2010, SLOVAKIA, curated by Katarína Slaninová. Image courtesy of the author.

Gáberová’s interest in the formal and technical limits of the video medium— aspects of deconstruction, various modes of cooperation among different authors, and the interpretation and appropriation of artistic material—is reflected in this work. Sometimes I want to be everything, sometimes I want to be nothing is arranged as a mosaic-like orientation of six videos. Each video was made by an individual artist who was instructed by Gáberová to use her old and never processed video material. The only guideline given was that the duration of the video must be two minutes. The work aimed to demonstrate semantic structure in a variety of disparate approaches and strategies. Finally, the completed works were meant to simultaneously reflect the individual sentiments of each author, as well as to empathize with Gáberová`s own practice; to understand consciously or unconsciously, what it would be like to embody “being Mira Gáberová” and take on the role of creating her “authentic” work.

Immediately, each artist understood the impossibility of become Gáberová or of making an “authentic” work by Gáberová. Instead, each video became individual explorations of the Mira Gáberová’s identity rather than attempts to mimic her work. As a result, the fragmented installation, which was difficult to observe simultaneously, emphasized the difficulty of making and perceiving a work made by many as a singular work.

The cooperation between artist and curator was intense from the very beginning. The curator played an equal role in developing the concept of the video, in the production, and of editing the final work. It was a unique experience for both artist and curator. Since the Crazycurators Biennale, Gáberová and I have been working collaboratively as an artist/curator team on several projects.

In the end, I believe that the collaboration between artists and curators is beneficial for both parties and contributes to a greater collective understanding of the work of the artist.

In its history, the Crazycurators Biennale has hosted international curators including Alenka Gregorič /SLO/, Aaron Moulton /USA, GER/, Katalin Simon /HUN/, Tevž  Logar /SLO/, Anastasia Stein /GER, RUS/, Andreas Hüber /AT/, Gabriele Gaspari /IT/ etc. Among artists participating at the biennial have been names such as Tomáš Svoboda /CZ/, Edwin Deen /NL/, Truck Art / lara Asole, Joe Fraser, Prem Sahib / UK, DDR group / SLO, Mira Gáberová /SK, Ignacio Uriarte / GER, ES, EddiE haRA / ID, Temitayo Ogunbiyi / USA, Nigeria, Matej Andraž Vogrinčič / SLO, Oliver Laric / DE

EddiE haRA (Realisation: Peter Barényi), Happy Victims, 2006-2008, drawing photocopy, slide projection, INDONESIA, Curated by Enin Supriyanto. Image courtesy of the author.

EddiE haRA (Realisation: Peter Barényi), Happy Victims, 2006-2008, drawing photocopy, slide projection, INDONESIA, Curated by Enin Supriyanto. Image courtesy of the author.

Katarína Slaninová is a curator and writer based in Slovakia. In her curatorial practice she is concerned with the politics of representation and how artistic processes can address social and political contexts. She also researches current curatorial strategies and searches for new ways to present contemporary art in connection with other disciplines. Apart from her freelance work, she is part of the curatorial team behind Enter Gallery in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her recent projects include Common Identity? (with Lýdia Pribišová), SPACE, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2011; Praguebiennale 5 / Whatever we do we cannot connect with you, Slovak section (with Lýdia Pribišová), Microna, Prague, CZ, 2011, Girolamo Marri & Miho Sato, Interventions (with Lýdia Pribišová), ATLANTIS, Hidden Histories – New Identities, Traces, Histories and new Identities on the Borderlines after 20 Years, Open Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2009

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