Sydney Biennale 2024 curators visit Euskadi with ZABAL

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


In March 2024, the 24th Biennale of Sydney is scheduled to commence and continue until June. The curators, Cosmin Costinas and Inti Guerrero, had the opportunity to learn about the Basque context through the ZABAl programme. In Bilbao, San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz they visited Basque creators, museums and contemporary art centres from 21 to 24 April, becoming familiar with projects, stakeholders, models and artistic practices. Costinas and Guerrero are organising the biennial as a group project to bring contemporary debates and challenges to the table.

Both took part this morning in a press conference held at the Artium Museum in Vitoria-Gasteiz, together with Bingen Zupiria, Minister of Culture and Language Policy of the Basque Government and Irene Larraza, Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute. They explained the reasons for the visit, as well as their areas of interest.

This visit is one of the accomplishments of the Etxepare Basque Institute’s ZABAL programme, which aims to promote the international presence of contemporary Basque creation by forging links between the Basque and international artistic contexts. Artingenium, which works in the management of projects related to local and international contemporary art, provides technical assistance for the project.

Costinas and Guerrero investigate artistic practices that address various themes, including pagan and carnivalesque, pre-Christian and traditional pagan cultures that reflect the expression of global cultural diversity; the different expressions of popular art through the production by artists/artisans; the revival of indigenous languages; contemporary practices around music and poetry; and gastronomy as a sign of identity of popular cultures.

They have focused on artists interested in pagan or pre-Christian culture who work with textiles and who can undertake projects related to carnival themes.

A wide-ranging programme was drawn up in Bilbao, Donostia and Vitoria-Gasteiz. Costinas and Guerrero visited museums and collections in the three cities that respond to these premises and met with artists working in these areas.

The Biennale of Sydney is one of the world´s leading international contemporary art events. In 2024 the Biennale will bring together some of the most dynamic contemporary art from around the globe in a colonial architectural setting and will house a number of Sydney´s institutions. A former power station will also be used as an exhibition space.

Costinas and Guerrero explained that their vision for the 24th Biennale of Sydney is to "create a space that examines the past and present through multiple art languages, from places of struggle and resistance to collective joy, while celebrating and respecting place. We want to challenge participants and spectators to experience the surprise and magic that art can generate.

In fact, they believe that artists constantly challenge the codes of representation, even the world they represent. “As curators, our responsibility is to create an exhibition that embraces this diversity of ideas and is owned by all, through the use of multiple platforms," they explained.

Established in 1973, it is the third oldest biennial in the world after Venice and São Paulo and the largest exhibition of its kind in Australia. The Biennale of Sydney has commissioned and presented exceptional works of art by more than 1,900 national and international artists from more than 130 countries.


About the curators

Cosmin Costinas (Rumania, 1982) was the Executive Director and Curator of Para Site, the leading contemporary art centre of Hong Kong, China, from 2011 until 2022. In 2021, he also served on the jury for the UK´s largest international contemporary art prize Artes Mundi. He was recently Artistic Director of Kathmandu Triennale 2022 and co-curator of the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2022 and editor of Documenta 12 magazines between 2005 and 2007.

Inti Guerrero was born in Bogota, Colombia. He studied History and Theory of Art and Architecture and General History at Universidad Andina in Colombia and at Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. He was the Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects (BAP) from 2018 to 2022, curator for the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebauden collection in Turin, Italy, and for the artistic platform Capacete Entretenimentos in Rio de Janeiro. Until recently he was Associate Artistic Director Artístico of TEOR/éTika in San José, Costa Rica. Guerrero has curated exhibitions for museums including the Tate Modern in London, the Rio-MAR Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, the Para Site in Hong Kong, TheCube in Taipei, ProjectSpace, the Arko Art Centre in Seoul, the Kadist in San Francisco, and the Bergen Assembly in London. He has contributed to several books, magazines and exhibition catalogues, and given classes and lectures at universities, art academies and institutions around the world.

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