The Issue of the Representation of the 'Margins' in Contemporary Art Exhibitions: The Case of the Thessaloniki Biennale
The art world has responded to the post-colonial theoretical framework in various ways. More specifically a number of large international exhibitions have attempted to give a voice to artists and present art from the so- called periphery or margins of the world. The Thessaloniki Biennale (Greece 2007), with international as well as local curators, was a collective attempt to address several issues amongst which that of presenting art from regions of the world with limited or no exposure to the Western-based art world. It included artists from the former Soviet Union, Asia and the Arab world in a curatorial design that raised a lot of questions about its suitability itself. This paper examines how this particular case of a newly born biennale in a relatively small country approached the issue of presenting/representing groups that used to have limited or no exposure and visibility to the West and whether it was successful or not. Also, the paper explores the wider issue of what the conditions could be for effectively giving voice and shifting the boundaries of centre/periphery within the context of large-scale international exhibitions organised in Europe as well as the limitations these organisations might face.
Keywords: Biennials, Contempoary Art Exhibitions, Post-Colonial, Thessaloniki, Representation
PhD Student, Department of Cultural Policy and Management, City University, London