Bergen Assembly


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Biennal Conference

        Bergen Assembly originated from the Bergen Biennial Conference in 2009, initiated by Bergen Kunsthall and its then director Solveig Øvstebø. The conference was held in response to a proposal by the municipality of Bergen to establish an international biennial for contemporary art in the city. The conference, which discussed the question “To biennial or not to biennial?” with international curators, artists, and academics, created an occasion to reflect collectively about the practice and potential of biennials as institutions. It’s aim was to identify and explore existing ‘biennial knowledge’ from different regions of the world and was made up of three days of lectures as well as seminar style workshops with young and leading professionals in the field.

        The content of the conference was drawn up by Solveig Øvstebø, Marieke van Hal and Elena Filipovic. The resulting publication The Biennial Reader (Hatje Cantz/Bergen Kunsthall, 2010) — is to date the most comprehensive publication on the global history and practice of biennials or regularly occurring exhibitions and art events.

        The publications that came from this conference, The Biennial Reader and Lokalisert  Localised, are available in our archive at our open office.

“To biennial or not to biennial?”

17 – 20 September 2009
Bergen Kunsthall 

Organised by:
Solveig Øvstebø
Marieke van Hal
Elena Filipovic

Sabra Arrhenius
Carlos Basualdo
Ute Meta Bauer
Ina Blom
Charlotte Bydler
John Clark
Ann Demeester
Donna De Salvo
Jonas Ekeberg
Elmgreen Dragset
Gridthiya Gaweewong
Ranjit Hoskote
Maria Hlavajova
Caroline A. Jones
Llilian Llanes
Sarat Maharaj
Vittoria Martini
Ivo Mesquita
Gerardo Mosquera
Paul O’Neill
Olu Oguibe
Tommy Olsson
Rafal Niemojewski
Marit Paasche
Nikos Papastergiadis
Vinicius Spricigo
Monika Szewczyk
Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk
Mahita El Bacha Urieta
Jan Verwoert
and Sabine B. Vogel