Accepted Paper:

Challenging the gaze: art biennales as global places  


Thomas Fillitz (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

Following the idea of a world culture, this paper considers art biennales as global places. It will consider which aspects of biennales support this assumption, and whether the notion itself is another universalistic production.

Paper long abstract:

The art world is at the forefront of processes of globalization in various perspectives: economically with the art market and the movement of art works around the globe; culturally, by determining which objects may be included or excluded from such interconnections. A contemporary global art world however is still largely determined by criteria defined within the European-North American art world. Museums of contemporary art neglect the art, which is created outside this art world. Art biennales, actually, have been spreading around the globe since the early 1990s. They are nowadays handled as those places, where new gazes are made possible, where the one global art world may intersect with multiple, regional ones.

Following the idea of a world culture, this paper proposes to consider art biennales as global places. A major question will be, which aspects may determine biennales as such places: are these the selected artists, the biennale curators, the critics, the audience? One also has to ask, whether art biennale constitutes another European-North American category, a universalistic one, or whether the notion has to be considered according to the particular locality, and how it stretches out into other spaces.

Panel W010
Looking, seeing and being seen: connecting and controlling through visual representation