BIENNALE: 5th Kyiv Biennial
The fifth edition of the Kyiv Biennial will take place across Europe at locations in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod, Berlin, Warsaw, Lublin, Antwerp and Vienna as the main exhibition venue. In view of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, a comprehensive biennial project in Kyiv long seemed deeply uncertain, if not impossible. But, with a cascade of openings—starting in Kyiv in October 2023, finishing in Berlin in 2024—the fifth Kyiv Biennial will be taking place. This Biennial edition is conceived as a European event, with dispersed exhibitions and public programs in a number of Ukrainian and EU cities, and realized in partnership with leading European institutions in the field of contemporary art. The project aims to reintegrate the Ukrainian artistic community, divided by war and scattered across Europe, and to enable its actors to work together with international colleagues and partners on the cultural, social and environmental challenges Ukraine is currently facing and to place them in a global context. Artistic images, investigative documentations and institutional practices will be explored with regard to possible exit strategies from the current impasse of war, authoritarianism and colonialism, where the scenarios for a new Ukraine beyond war could even be imagined. The decentralized European Kyiv Biennial will be an important and at the same time “introductory gesture” that creates bridges and pillars for a long-time relationship with Ukraine on a personal as well as institutional level, which will remain beyond the projects carried out in Autumn 2023.
Kyiv Biennial is an international forum for art, knowledge, and politics that integrates exhibitions and discussion platforms. It adopts an interdisciplinary perspective at the intersection of the humanities, socially engaged art, and political activism in order to reflect on the crucial issues of the contemporary world. Kyiv Biennial is organized by the Visual Culture Research Center. Kyiv Biennial works with the architectural context of the city by involving unique buildings of the Soviet modernism. Over the years, Kyiv Biennial’s exhibitions and public events have been held in such locations as the House of Clothes, the “UFO” building (Ukrainian Institute of Scientific and Technical Information), Zhytniy Market, the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Scientific Library, the House of Cinema and others. In 2019, Kyiv Biennial became a co-founder of the East Europe Biennial Alliance, which also includes Biennale Matter of Art Prague, Biennale Warszawa, OFF-Biennale Budapest, and Survival Kit Festival Riga. The first edition of Kyiv Biennial in 2015, The School of Kyiv, included six “schools” – conceptual platforms promoting the dialogue between Ukrainian and international artists, intellectuals, and the public. In the spring of 2016, The School of Kyiv expanded to Europe, and its departments were opened in various cultural capitals. The next edition, The Kyiv International – Kyiv Biennial 2017, explored the emancipatory potential of the idea of the political International. The second part of this event called The Kyiv International – ’68 NOW took place in May 2018, commemorating the 50th anniversary of May 1968. The third edition of Kyiv Biennial in 2019, Black Cloud, focused on the political and cultural role of modern information technologies as well as social transformations that have happened in Eastern Europe over the past three decades. Allied – Kyiv Biennial 2021 was curated by the East Europe Biennial Alliance, exploring various historical forms and contemporary examples of cultural and political alliances in Eastern Europe and beyond and their ability to create new social formats.