In November 2010 curator Artur Żmijewski announced an Open Call to artists from all over the world, asking them to send in artistic material as part of the research of the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Following the aim to include all of the more than 5,000 submissions in the exhibition we developed in collaboration with Berlin-based media activist Pit Schultz an open, non-commercial platform: ArtWiki, an open data initiative for the arts. ArtWiki is a digital art library based on the model of Wikipedia, a sustainable project that will continue into the future to support an alternative to market-oriented digital art representations. ArtWiki went online at the start of the 7th Berlin Biennale. It allows web users to access information and view profiles of the artists who have agreed to participate.
The internationally acclaimed artist Artur Żmijewski was invited to develop and implement the concept of the 7th Berlin Biennale. Born in Warsaw in 1966, Żmijewski mainly works with social and political issues transformed into actions and films. Artur Żmijewski appointed the Voina group from Russia and Joanna Warsza from Warsaw to be associate curators.
One of the first artists invited to participate in the 7th Berlin Biennale was the Israeli-Dutch artist Yael Bartana, who further developed her project “Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland” (JRMiP). Initiated by Bartana, the movement calls for the return of 3,300,000 Jews to Poland. Since it was established in 2007, the JRMiP has gained international recognition and numerous supporters.
Government documents demonstrate the explicit correlation between identity and affiliation. Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar used these attributes as samples for alternative models of identity. He created a stamp with which he stamped the passports of travelers and pedestrians in Ramallah, Berlin, Paris and other cities since 2011. About 240 participants now carry a stamp of the State of Palestine in their passport. Jarrar participated in the 7th Berlin Biennale with a focus on another official sign: postage stamps. Using a service offered by the Deutsche Post AG called “Individual Stamp”, the artist produced his own stamps for the State of Palestine which could be used in the regular mail. More than 20,000 stamps featuring the Palestine Sunbird were sold during the event.
The 7th Berlin Biennale was shown at various exhibition venues and in public places in Berlin. Temporary projects and events also featured at the festival, accompanied by actions of solidarity in Germany and abroad. For more information about all the projects, artists and events, visit berlinbiennale.de.
A look into Artur Żmijewski’s general approach is provided by his interview book “Trembling Bodies”, which is available in English and German (Artur Żmijewski, Trembling Bodies / Körper in Aufruhr, 2011, published by the Berliner Künstlerprogramm/DAAD and CSW Kronika, Bytom, mail order: email@example.com). The book is an anthology of his conversations with Polish artists related to the “critical art” movement in post-communist Poland.
The Berlin Biennale is organized by KW Institute for Contemporary Art.
Curator: Artur Żmijewski
Associate Curators: Voina and Joanna Warsza