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The University of Southampton

Students install artwork in Tate Modern

Published: 2 May 2018
Artwork at Kochi Muziris Biennale
Artwork at Kochi Muziris Biennale in 2012

Students from the University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art (WSA) are working with international artists and renowned academics in an ambitious week of activities at Tate Exchange exploring the subject of ‘biennales’.

A biennale is a contemporary art or music exhibition held once every two years and operating on a very large, usually city-wide, scale – drawing tens of thousands of visitors. At least 98 are staged worldwide across over 40 countries.

The WSA event, titled How to Build an Art Biennale, will debate and discuss the concept of these giant exhibitions and see the creation of a unique, smaller scale biennale within the Tate space. The week-long variety of activities (8 – 13 May 2018) reflect ‘production’ – the current theme of Tate Exchange.

Tate Exchange (at Tate Modern) is an ambitious ‘open experiment’ whereby organisations and members of the public participate in events, conversations and projects that use art as a way of addressing wider issues in the world around us.

Students and staff from Winchester School of Art will draw inspiration and echo the principles of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India, which is well known for artists producing work on site. Working collaboratively across the key areas of the School’s BA Fine Art course – sculpture, painting, print-making and new media – four signature artworks have been created, each inspired by seminal works of art created during previous editions of the Biennale.

The works will be installed on site with the help of Bose Krishnamachari, President and Co-Founder of Kochi-Muziris Biennale Foundation. Visitors will be able to meet with all those involved and enter the project’s biennale office to discuss, debate and challenge ideas.

In addition, New Delhi based theatre director, Zuleikha Chaudhari, will collaborate with contemporary artist Sudarshan Shetty to invite audience participants to present ‘who we think we are’ when entering a museum or visiting an art biennale. The ‘auditions’ will be broadcast within Tate Modern and across social media as an intervention upon the codes and conventions of the art museum and biennale format.

The Tate Exchange event will also include work from international contemporary artists Zhang Qiang, a calligrapher and performance artist, and Robert E. D’Souza, an artist and designer. Both will take up residency in the space.

Professor D’Souza, who is also Head of Winchester School of Art, says: “It is very exciting to be taking over this Tate space in this way. It will be a unique learning experience for our students – giving them the opportunity to work alongside some major names of the art world and share their creative experiences more widely with members of the public.

“Staff and students will explore the production of art within social conditions, examine what underlies the art biennale format and the framing of contemporary art, its labours, and viewership.”

Critical debate will take place throughout the week-long programme. This includes knowledge exchange event, How to Biennale, which will bring together participants from around the country engaged in local, regional and national biennales and contemporary art events. The week will close with Imagined Biennales, a curated series of presentations and debate, bringing together an international array of voices to question the future of the contemporary art exhibition. It will include a live video-link with Anita Dube, the curator of the forthcoming 4th edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

Contributions from the Tate Exchange events will be taken forward for How to Biennale! The Manual, a new book (playing on the seminal manual by the music and art collective The KLF), which has been conceived and edited by Shwetal A. Patel, Founding Member of ‎Kochi-Muziris Biennale and doctoral researcher, and Sunil Manghani, Professor of Theory, Practice and Critique at Winchester School of Art.

For more information about the programme visit Tate Modern.

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