I went for dinner one evening in Berlin with a friend of mine to a small Korean restaurant in Kreuzberg. Known for its #hip #urban #rustic atmosphere and bustling youthful population I looked forward to exploring some of the former West Berlin. The first thing I realized was that no matter where you go in this culture game, it’s easy to get fooled. On our evening stroll through the area my friend flippantly pointed out how a billboard announcing ‘improvement constructions for the area’ had aggressively been marked with “Niemand hat uns gefragt” (Nobody asked us). Loft apartments are being bought out, refurbished, and rented out at sky-high new prices, such that even renting your whole apartment on Airbnb is now illegal in Berlin.
In June the Honours in Curatorship students were sent on an excursion to Berlin for the Berlin Biennale. In this short reflection, Honours in Curatorship student Carly Schultz recounts the highlight of her excursion; that is, the students’ visit to Museum Island.
In Venice, 1895, the world was introduced to the first large-scale international contemporary art exhibition. The Biennale was quickly popularised as nations around the world strived too to present their own such mega-exhibitions. However, it was only as late as 1995, the year of the centenary celebration of the Venice Biennale, that South Africa presented its first such event, the Johannesburg Biennale. Whilst last year saw the presentation of the 60th Venice Biennale, its South African counterpart unfortunately only survived two renditions. What did the two South African Biennales comprise of and why were they so short-lived?
The Berlin Biennale started in 1998 and has, since, become an important representation of contemporary art from around the globe. The Biennale is organized by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, this year it is curated by the New York based collective DIS.