Artishok press release
In a situation where Estonian art world is struggling for the preservation of the most basic functions – art education – it is a mixed feeling to announce that the next Artishok Biennale will take place October 10th-20th 2012 in Contemporary Museum of Art, Estonia, Tallinn.
Artishok Biennale is an experimental exhibition format that was brought to life by art and criticism movement Artishok in 2008 in Tallinn, initiated by a vacuum in the noughties art criticism – especially in the generational young art criticism – but also by a desire to overlook automatic procedures in the art world as well as scatter clusters of symbolic capital and status quo. 10 cutting edge young artists, 10 cutting edge young critics, and 10 intense exhibition days with a new show presenting one work of art and ten critical reviews opening up each morning. The aim was to create a kind of simulacra of an ideal art world in which all its components would be presented at its best: bravehearted artists diving into the waves of criticism, critics with variety of taste preferences and world views, zeitgeist sensitive curator who would not intrude excessively into the work of artists and critics, and last but not least an audience ready for a challenging exhibition experience.
By the time Artishok Biennale takes place for the third time in 2012 its original mission is still valid. For the young artists not to get used to acting in the art scene without professional art criticism there has to be a bold and idiosyncratic generation of writers who feel at home within the ever changing landscape of contemporary art. Art criticism familiar with different media and pluralistic in views is not only necessary for a healthy blood circulation in today`s art world, but also as a surface from which tomorrow`s rich and varied art history can grow. In recent years, Artishok has taken art criticism as one of its main concerns, arranging art criticism reading groups, interviewing renowned professionals from around the world and arranging art criticism days bringing together professional circles and the mainstream media.
The crown jewel of Artishok Biennale is, of course, its format – X x X x X – a naturally rare hypertrophy that we did not have the heart to break the last time, and we do not have the heart to break this time, so the perfection of this beautiful and peculiar form will continue according to the original genetic code. When the curator Kati Ilves added X popular artist talks to the 2010 Biennale – which resulted in AB² or X x X x X x X – then this time will add X introductory essays to the 2012 Biennale – AB³ or X x X x X x X x X.
These essays will be publihsed in Artishok after every two weeks on Mondays introducing X Estonian, Baltic and Scandinavian writers to the readers who have chosen for their gesture of courtesy X young Estonian artists who have caught their eye in recent years with a witty personal exhibition or an absorbing work of art in a group show. None of the writers receive a honorary for their work whereas the publication of the essay will automatically serve as an invitation for participation in Artishok Biennale for the chosen artists.
This time the exhibition venue will also add its unique characteristics to the Biennale. While the first two biennales took place in city galleries, white cubes with a symmetrical ground plan and smooth interiors, then this time we will occupy Contemporary Museum of Art, Estonia, which is essentially a squat, dysfunctional exhibition space with an eclectic interior, definitely a challenging exhibition space, but also an ambitious young institution opened to experiments.
Artishok Biennale is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.