The third Coventry Biennial, the UK’s social biennial, will take place from Friday 8 October 2021 until January 2022 across Coventry and Warwickshire in a wide range of artistic, heritage, business and community locations. Titled ‘HYPER-POSSIBLE’, in a reference to the radical nature of Coventry’s history whilst also signifying a positive way forward following a deeply difficult 2020, the Biennial will be a key visual arts element of the Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.
The artist-led Coventry Biennial held successful editions in 2017 and 2019. For the third edition, ‘HYPER-POSSIBLE’ will use the legacies of three local art historical moments – Art & Language, The BLK Art Group and Cybernetic Culture Research Unit – to inspire new commissions by local, national and international artists with a focus on the innovative, educational, radical and experimental. Artists will use these three moments in art history as starting points for their new commissions, developing artworks that respond to current global concerns and trends within contemporary artistic practice, including themes such as: the impact of technology on society, belief, participatory approaches to sharing knowledge, protest, activism and dissent, our relationships to the places that we live in and the impacts of climate change.
To date, HYPER-POSSIBLE has commissioned and been working with the following artists: Ayo Akingbade, Ryan Christopher, Faye Claridge, Laura Dicken, Georgiou & Tolley, Grace Ndiritu, Alan Van Wijgerden, melissandre varin and Duncan Whitley.
Works will be shown at both traditional art venues and new and unexpected locations across Coventry and Warwickshire. ‘HYPER-POSSIBLE’ will feature prominently at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum alongside city landmarks such as the famous Coventry Cathedral. Venues for past Biennials include the former Coventry Evening Telegraph headquarters, a disused NHS facility and 15th Century weavers’ cottages.
Ryan Hughes, Artistic Director, Coventry Biennial says: ‘Since the first Coventry Biennial, we have been building towards 2021. We’re so pleased to finally be here, to support local artists and bring some of the best visual art from around the world into the region as a part of UK City of Culture. HYPER-POSSIBLE brings together an outstanding group of artists to make a programme that is deeply connected to Coventry, but which has themes and ideas that are universal. We’re excited to announce more artists over the coming months, but the nine announced today are representative of the ways which our team are building the Biennial – young local artists working alongside much more established ones – an approach that ensures innovation and legacy across our programme and for our city.’
Over the coming months each of the artists, along with local galleries, museums, curators and communities, will contribute to creating the HYPER-POSSIBLE. Details of the commissions, additional artists and the full programme will be announced in the lead-up to the start of the Coventry UK City of Culture in May 2021.