Opening of Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art 2022: "Still Present" 

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Opening of Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art 2022: "Still Present" 

Author : Sara Taheran

Reading Time : 3 Minutes

The 12th edition of Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art titled "Still Present" will run in Berlin, Germany from June 11 to September 18, 2022, involving 75 artists and art groups, with Gabriele Horn as director and Kader Attia as curator.  

Kader Attia | Curator of the 12th Edition of Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art | Photographer: F. Antha Schaap | Source: 


Kader Attia (b. 1970, Paris) is a French-Algerian artist whose lived experience in two completely different cultures – colonizer in one and colonized in the other – forms the theme of his works. He depicts the crises which colonized societies face, such as suppression, deprivation, and violence. In his writings and artworks, Attia has focused on the concept of "Repair" for more than two decades; because from his viewpoint, this concept is a way to retrieve the history and identity of a colonized society. Therefore, he established La Colonie Foundation in 2016.  

In each edition, Berlin Biennale's approach is specified according to its curator's standpoint. This year, the biennale is focused on "decolonizing". Besides artworks, historical documents like political publications about human rights are presented in the biennale so as to indicate the relation between fascistic, imperialistic, and authoritarian colonizing policies. In one part of this year's statement of the biennale, Attia wrote: 

"Since the onset of modernity, our planet has endured successive and ruinous changes that have accelerated alarmingly since the start of the third millennium. The place to which we have arrived today is not by chance: it is the result of historical formations constructed over centuries. In their egoism, modern Western societies have taken their own liberal character for granted, falsely assuming that the balance between free trade and universal suffrage guarantees a self-regulating system of universal democratic values. The dystopian society we have inherited from this utopian promise produces chaos but denies responsibility for it. In fact, the present world is the way it is because it carries all of the wounds accumulated throughout the history of Western modernity. Unrepaired, they continue to haunt our societies." [Source: 12th Berlin Biennale, 2022 (] 

The international selection board for curatorship of the 12th Berlin Biennale includes Yael Bartana, filmmaker and photographer; Beatrice von Bismarck, professor of art history and visual culture at Academy of Fine Arts, Leipzig; Anita Dube, Indian artist and independent curator; Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Sohrab Mohebbi, curator of the 58th Carnegie International, Pittsburg, US; Gabi Ngcobo, African artist and independent curator; Gabriela Rangel, writer and director at Fundación Malba Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. 

Besides artists, theorists, and those who like or are involved in arts, people in the city can attend the event which is held outdoors. The 12th Berlin Biennale will run in Akademie der Künste Hanseatenweg and Pariser Platz, Dekoloniale Erinnerungskultur in der Stadt, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart and Stasi-Zentrale. Tickets are sold both online and at the mentioned locations.  

History  of Berlin Biennale

Inspired by the Venice Biennale, Klaus Biesenbach, art patron and collector, and founder of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, established the Berlin Biennale on March 26, 1996 in one of the most developed cities in Europe. Eberhard Mayntz is currently the chairman of the board. The biennale,  aimed at introducing young lesser-known artists, is held once in two years in different locations of Berlin city under the supervision of KW institute and is now one of the most important events focused on contemporary art. In fact, this event provides curators with space and freedom to present their works without having to follow the art market and its interests. However, the German Federal Cultural Foundation has sponsored the biennale since 2004 which seems to affect the event's independent function and development. Berlin Biennale, as a local-global event, joined the International Biennial Association since 2008.  

Here is a list of Berlin Biennale editions along with the curators' names: 

  • The 1st (1998): Klaus Biesenbach 

  • The 2nd (2001): Saskia Bos 

  • The 3rd (2004): Ute Meta Bauer  

  • The 4th (2006): Maurizio Cattelan 

  • The 5th (2008): Adam Szymczyk 

  • The 6th (2010): Kathrin Rhomberg 

  • The 7th (2012): Artur Zmijewski 

  • The 8th (2014): Juan A. Gaitán 

  • The 9th (2016): DIS collective 

  • The 10th (2018): Gabi Ngcobo 

  • The 11th (2020): María Berríos 

  • The 12th (2022): Kader Attia  



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