Europe is mired in constant crisis: a crisis of institutions and narratives, and now a crisis of identity. Who do we want to be, how do we want to live, who belongs to us? Those who wish to avoid feeling depressed about the current situation need a place to escape to – an open, creative space of transition between misgivings and new beginnings. The Wiesbaden Biennale 2016 provided the “tired European” exactly that – asylum. Eight international artists have designed exemplary institutions and concepts of a utopian society. They occupied central locations in the city and scrutinised various rituals and narratives.
For example, the Dutch performance artist Dries Verhoeven has developed ten funeral ceremonies at St. Augustine’s Church. Each day he laid to rest certain ideas and long-held beliefs (welfare state, eternal fidelity) which society should possibly bid farewell to. The Belgian director Thomas Bellinck moved into the vacant court building and created a museum of the future which looks back at Europe’s disintegration. The Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué converted the Theaterstudio into a critical school of art which analysed the media machine of Islamic terror. The viewers and passers-by have been invited to become a part of the community and continue writing Europe’s narrative.
The Wiesbaden Biennale is the successor to the festival “New European Plays”. Founded in 1992 from a spirit of European awakening, the festival – 24 years later – aimed to critically analyse European identity.
Artistic directors: Maria Magdalena Ludewig, Martin Hammer
Artists: Dries Verhoeven (NL), Thomas Bellinck (BE), Rabih Mroué (LB), Tiago Rodrigues (PT), Georgia Sagri (GR), Ingo Niermann, Margarita Tsomou (GR/DE) and others
Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden