Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA)
Röda Sten Konsthall
Gothenburg | Sweden
Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) is a Nordic art biennial. A platform for presentation of international contemporary art, GIBCA aims to be an important junction between local, national and international discourses on relevant current themes. Each biennial consists of several exhibitions and programme hosted by established art institutions in Gothenburg and in the public realm.
This year the biennal celebrates in its tenth edition, an occasion to consider on the embedded temporality of biennials and test new forms of commitment to topicality, artists and audiences, by appointing Lisa Rosendahl as curator for the biennials in 2019 and 2021.
Titled Part of the Labyrinth, GIBCA 2019 makes use of the term interconnectedness as both motif and method. The tenth edition of the biennial takes the form of an exhibition woven between four principal venues, accompanied by public programs and commissions.
Each exhibition site is used as a thematic point of departure: from the collections of Gothenburg Natural History Museum to Röda Sten Konsthall’s industrial heritage, the colonial history of Franska tomten, and the modernist architecture of Göteborgs Konsthall. Bringing together these places within a common framework makes visible their shared history and interrelationships.
Part of the Labyrinth is the start of a conversation developing into 2021, when the biennial coincides with the 400-jubilee of the city of Gothenburg—an occasion to enquire into how our own precarious times can be understood as a consequence of transformative shifts in the 1600s, such as the formulation of a mechanistic and cartesian world view. The 2019 biennial title echoes the lines by Danish poet Inger Christensen: “I think/ therefore I am part/ of the labyrinth” (Letters in April, 1979) written in response to René Descartes’ “Cogito, ergo sum” (1637).
As a long-term commitment to site, the biennial commissions a series of soundworks informed by histories of past and present Gothenburg. In September a first work in the series, developed in collaboration with Göteborg konst, will be released and made available online through the biennial app. From 2019–2021, the biennial will also invite artists and other voices to respond to the many layers of history connected to Franska tomten, a plot of land in the Gothenburg harbour exchanged in 1784 as part of a trade deal with the French Empire for the Caribbean island of Saint-Barthélemy.
GIBCA continues the collaboration with an open network of art organisations in West Sweden. Between September-November 2019, more than 50 museums, artist-run spaces, galleries or temporary initiatives associate under the umbrella of GIBCA Extended and present contemporary art projects informed by the motif and framework of Part of the Labyrinth.
With the participation of 35 artists, Part of the Labyrinth aims to unsettle binaries produced by modernity through exploring entangled histories such as the relationship between colonialism, industry and environmental destruction, and the interplay between human and non-human ways of looking at the world.
Röda Sten 1
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