|Yongwoo Lee, president of Gwangju Biennale Foundation, was elected as the president of the International Biennial Association (IBA) at the First General Assembly, which was held from the 10 to the 13 of July 2014 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), hosted by the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Marieke van Hal, founding director of Biennial Foundation, and Bige Örer, director of Istanbul Biennial, were elected as the two vice-presidents. All executive members will serve for a term of three years.
19 representatives from differing regions, histories and backgrounds were elected as the IBA Board, to voice diverse political and social perspectives. Over 300 members and contemporary art-related professionals attended the conference and First General Assembly.
The First General Assembly gave birth to the IBA, which is a membership-based organization, comprised of artists, curators, writers, art historians and biennial professionals from across the world. In the context of visual culture and the global contemporary art world, the theme of the conference “Why Biennial? Why Associate?” was chosen as the fundamental concept of the existence of IBA. The conference was divided into two parts, beginning with the opening keynote lecture “Why Biennial?” given by Maria Hlavajova, Artistic Director BAK and FORMER WEST leading to dialogues between Bruce Altshuler, Nicolas Bourriaud and Juan A. Gaitán, moderated by Koyo Kouoh on “Biennial Writing—Re-assessing Art History.” In the second half of the program the impetus and prospect of IBA, “Why Associate?,” was addressed by Bartomeu Marí, president of CIMAM (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art) and director of the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, opening up a wider field for discussion on “Institutional Critique—How to be Self-Critical in Biennial Work” moderated by Bige Örer. Panel members included Galit Eilat, Hedwig Fijen, Geeta Kapur, Ahmet ÖÄŸüt and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.
As the members of IBA gathered together for the first time, this provided an opportunity to create a platform for networking and the exchange of experience and knowledge. Bringing together individuals and representatives of institutions from a vast array of multidisciplinary spheres, enabling members to share and learn about the realities each biennial institution faces as a circumstance brought upon from socio-political, regional and global, cultural and artistic issues.
The association is comprised with members from more than 50 different countries. With the generous support provided by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation), 26 representatives from biennials located in emerging markets and developing economies were able to attend the conference and General Assembly. As witnessed during the four-day event, each biennial institution is composed with differing scales in structure, budgets, history and background. In the closing speech at the First General Assembly, Yongwoo Lee shared his thoughts on the pivotal involvement of each member whilst encouraging others alike to join by commenting “There are many different scaled but beautiful biennials across the world, holding a yet small but precious voice. It is with the contribution of not only the well-established biennials but inclusive of all, we write biennial history together.”
IBA is a not-for-profit association, created for the further development of biennials through the establishment of professional networking within the contemporary art world, allowing the exchange of curatorial, artistic and knowledge production through a horizontal distribution between biennials, triennials and other art-related disciplines around the world.
The International Biennial Association is pleased to have held their First General Assembly. As a member of IBA, you will be given the opportunity to network and exchange valuable experiences and knowledge to further develop the biennial community through the participation of the annual General Assemblies, online forum and other IBA organized events. IBA invites you to join this network of professionals and looks forward to your involvement as a member of the association.
Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi (President, Sharjah Biennial) / Elke aus dem Moore (Head of Visual Arts Department, ifa, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) / Donna De Salvo (Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitney Biennial) / Margarita González (Vice Director, Wifredo Lam Contemporary Art Center, Havana Biennial) / Gabriele Horn (Director, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art) / Hong-hee Kim (Director, Seoul Museum of Art, SeMA Biennale Media City Seoul) / Helena Kontova (Director, Prague Biennale) / Yongwoo Lee (President, Gwangju Biennale Foundation) / Patrick Mudekereza (Director, Picha Art Center, Recontres Picha, Lubumbashi Biennale) / Bige Örer (Director, Istanbul Biennial) / Eriko Osaka (Director, Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum) / Mauro Petroni (Board of Orientation Committee in charge of the OFF commission of Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain de Dakar) / Thierry Raspail (Artistic Director, Lyon Biennale and Director, Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon) / Alya Sebti (Artistic Director, Marrakech Biennale) / Alia Swastika (International Relations, Jogja Biennale) / Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial) / Tan Boon Hui (Group Director, Programmes, National Heritage Board, Singapore) / Marieke van Hal (Founding Director, Biennial Foundation) / Zhang Qing (Director, Research and Curatorial Department, National Art Museum, China. International Biennial Research Center, China)
*List above is in alphabetical order.
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Become an IBA member via signing up online at www.biennialassociation.org.