31 January, 2006

berlin biennial

The 4th berlin biennial,

25 March - 28 May 2006

curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick,

is not only a singular exhibition: it is composed of a series of events, projects and other gestures. The activities and endeavors began last spring in Berlin and around Germany with a series of presentations and lectures. The first undertaking of the curators, a column contributed to Zitty magazine, started in March 2005. In September 2005, the 4th berlin biennial opened Gagosian Gallery, Berlin, a knock-off gallery that presents a new exhibition every four weeks. The three curators also contributed a diary to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. In November 2005, the 4th berlin biennial published Checkpoint Charley, a publication that represents images and materials from over 700 artists encountered during research for the 4th berlin biennial. The exhibition of the 4th berlin biennial, titled Of Mice and Men, will open to the public on March 25, 2006.

On this continuously updated website you will find information on these activities and preliminary details on the exhibition as well as current print products and background information on the three curators. To learn more about the previous berlin biennials, please consult the history section. A list of links focusing on the art scene of Berlin can also be found here.

The 4th berlin biennial for contemporary art is a project of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art.


Taking its title from a poem by 18th century Scottish writer Robert Burns – who also inspired John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel of the same name – Of Mice and Men stages a theater of the absurd, in which animals, humans and ghosts all play their tragic parts. But it is also a day in life of the inhabitants of a street and a stroll along the spaces that punctuate our existence.

The exhibition, Of Mice and Men will include more than 60 artists spanning four generations and working in a variety of media and techniques from etching to woodcut, animation to still photography, role-playing to team building. Unlike the prevailing biennial tendency to debut the latest talents and movements, this show draws connections across time and throughout the past and present, rather than just concentration on the fleeting trend or tastes. And the context within the heart of the city of Berlin brings with it the undeniable weight of countless histories and manifestations, triumphs and failures.

Berlin has a long tradition of co-opting and transforming existing buildings and structures into venues for temporary art shows. Every day in Berlin an artist turns his or her apartment into a gallery or opens an independent exhibition space. Learning from this experience, the curators recognize the specificity of Berlin’s art scene and the vast quantities of unoccupied space. That space is both a blessing and a curse: it offers up exciting and fresh venues for presenting art, however it also symbolizes the failures and consequences of the city’s powerful and persistent memory and history.

The berlin biennial is the only biennial in the world that changes locations and venues according to the exigencies of the exhibition. Of Mice And Men will thus become a strange carnival or street fair, following a jagged descent into the spirals of time.


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