Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) has announced the curatorial team for the 17th edition of the Istanbul Biennial: curator Ute Meta Bauer, artist Amar Kanwar, and art historian David Teh.
The appointment of three co-curators marks a departure from the biennial’s usual practice of naming one artistic director to oversee the event, with the exception of 2009 edition jointly curated by Charles Esche and Vasif Kortun. The three curators issued an initial curatorial statement suggesting a focus on ecological and environmental concerns: “Rather than a great tree, laden with sweet, ripe fruit, this biennale seeks to learn from the birds’ flight, from the once teeming seas, from the earth’s slow chemistry of renewal and nourishment. There may be no great gathering, no orchestrated coming together at one time and place; instead it might be a great dispersal, an invisible fermentation. Its threads will be drawn together, but they will multiply and diverge, at different paces, crossing here and there but with no noisy culmination, no final knot. It may begin before it is to begin and continue well after it is over.” Further details about the 17th Istanbul Biennial will be revealed in 2021.
Ute Meta Bauer is a curator of exhibitions and presentations on contemporary art, film, video, and sound that connect artistic work with other disciplines. Since 2013, she is Founding Director of NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and a professor in the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University. Prior, she has served as Dean of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art, London, UK (2012-2013), and was an associate professor at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, Cambridge, MA (2005-2012), where she was Founding Director of the Programme in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) and Director of the MIT Visual Arts Programme. For ten years, she was Professor and Head of the Institute for Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria (1996-2006). Bauer also served as Founding Director of OCA, Office for Contemporary Art, Norway (2002-2005).
Amar Kanwar is an artist, born in New Delhi, India, in 1964, where he currently lives and works. Between the years 1982-1985, he did his bachelors in History from Delhi University and later between 1985-1987 completed his masters in Film and Communications from Jamia Millia Islamia’s Research Centre for Mass Communication in New Delhi. His films and multi-layered installations originate in narratives often drawn from zones of conflict and are characterised by a unique poetic approach to the personal, social and political.
David Teh was born in 1977 in Australia. He received his BA from the University of Sydney in the History and Theory of Art in 1999, and a doctorate in Critical Theory in 2005. Between the years 2005-2009, he lived in Bangkok and has been working in Singapore since 2009, teaching at the National University of Singapore where he is Associate Professor in the Literature Programme. Teh’s research focuses on Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art.
The three curators have been selected by the Istanbul Biennial Advisory Board consisting of: Director of the Whitechapel Gallery and curator Iwona Blazwick, art historian and author Ayşe Erek, Artistic Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and scholar Yuko Hasegawa, Co-Curator of the 11th Berlin Biennale Agustín Pérez Rubio, and General Director of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, curator and art historian Levent Çalıkoğlu.
17th Istanbul Biennial will take place between 11 September and 14 November 2021.