What is BIENALSUR?
BIENALSUR is the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of the South, an extensive platform for art and culture under permanent construction.
For we believe that art triggers imagination and shapes the way we see and think about the world we live in, BIENALSUR builds a community that upholds the right to culture on the conviction that it affords visibility to other rights.
Artists, curators, and institutions from around the world come together to redouble actions, rise up to contemporary challenges and envision possible futures. Thus, BIENALSUR integrates and simultaneously attempts to connect audiences, artists, and spaces from the five continents. We seek to establish a collaborative global network that contributes to bridging gaps and erasing both real and symbolic borders, and asserts uniqueness in diversity—the local in the global.
BIENALSUR includes works and projects selected as a result of open international calls. We have also selected some key artists to help reinforce one of the central purposes of our project: to include diverse actors and expand audiences by proposing to think through images and aesthetic experiences. We are committed to building new bridges of dialogue through art and culture, turning every art space into a place for reflection. This declaration guides the selection of art projects that contribute to opening up our perspectives in order to reflect upon and develop a contemporary humanism.
How do we work?
In 2015, with the “Global South Meetings, A Platform for Reflection on Contemporary Art and Culture,” we started this dynamic project based on dialogues, exchanges, and presentations comprising a diverse, ongoing public program that provides continuity in time to debates and projects.
Through biannual processes, the first edition took place in 2017, when we presented a plural cartography that reached venues in the five continents, thus becoming one of the identity marks of our horizontal, democratic work: 16 countries, 34 cities, more than 80 venues, and over 400 artists and curators participated in the first edition. In 2019, the map was extended to include 112 venues in 47 cities of 21 countries and incorporated proposals from over 800 artists and curators. We are currently developing the third edition in 120 venues in 50 cities in 23 countries, thinking with this present in mind in search of alternative strategies for continuity.
Exhibitions are held at different museums, cultural centers, buildings and iconic areas of the public space in different cities with the purpose of creating a global network of institutional associative collaboration that erases distances and borders, and upholds uniqueness in diversity.
Unprecedented in its methodology, BIENALSUR includes works and projects that are the result of open, free international calls with no pre-established topics. The idea of these wide-ranging calls is to invite artists and curators to conceive specific and unpublished proposals to follow their own pursuits without specific tropes that might influence them. As a result of these vast calls, to which 5,500 proposals from one-hundred and eight countries were submitted in 2020, central conceptual axes arise for each edition, in addition to the selection of projects that make up the design of the exhibitions and actions. The criterion for selecting the projects is the quality of each submission, both in conceptual and aesthetic terms.
With its own cartography, and a specific territory and itinerary, BIENALSUR opens up to an expanded South on a virtually planetary scale that brings together artists and curators from the five continents. The map has its 0 KM at the MUNTREF (Immigration Museum and Center of Contemporary Art) in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and from there it expands in all directions, redesigning paths, dialogues, and interactions from off-center perspectives.
Who are in charge of this project?
Those who are in charge of this project are professionals dedicated to the management of public spaces for training and development, specialized in the area of art and culture. BIENALSUR is organized by UNTREF (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero) –an Argentine public university, BIENALSUR has its rector Aníbal Jozami as General Director and Diana Wechsler as Artistic-Academic Director. They are accompanied by the International Curatorial Council, a team of curators, and a small team of producers.
/ GENERAL DIRECTOR OF BIENALSUR
Aníbal Jozami is a sociologist specialized in International Relations, a businessman and an art collector. He is the Rector of the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero and the Director of the museums of the same university. In 1993, Jozami founded the Foro del Sur Foundation, a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to gather political, business and academic leaders to formulate state policies for South America. In 2015 the culture ministers of the South American countries, endorsed the BIENALSUR project because of the interest for the region and its global projection. He was distinguished for the French Republic with the Chevalier of the Ordre of the arts and the Ordre al Merit.
/ ARTISTIC AND ACADEMIC DIRECTOR OF BIENALSUR
Diana Wechsler has a doctorate in Art History, is a CONICET (National Council for Scientific and Technical Research) researcher and a curator. She is the Director of the "Dr. Norberto Griffa" Institute for Research in Art and Culture and the Master's Degree in Curatorial Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero. She is the Artistic Director of the museums of this university and Professor of Argentinean Art at the UBA (University of Buenos Aires). She has obtained scholarships and grants such as the Getty Foundation Postdoctoral Scholarship and the awards for Art Essays and Curatorships from the International Association of Art Critics and Scientific Production of the Argentine Senate. She was distinguished by the French Republic with the honorary title of Chevalier des Palmes Academiques.