Dynamics and dialectics: unraveling the politics of the contemporary art biennale

Review on Kompatsiaris, P., 2017, The Politics of Contemporary Art Biennials: Spectacles of Critique, Theory and Art. New York: Routledge

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17721/2519-4801.2023.2.08

Keywords:

Contemporary Art Biennials, Discursive Biennial Model, Socio-Political Engagement, Art Activism

Abstract

The sphere of the Contemporary Art Biennale is a place where aesthetic expression and political discourse are intertwined with social engagement. In «The Politics of the Contemporary Art Biennale», Panos Kompaciaris explores the dynamics of large-scale art exhibitions. Using a different theory, the author initiates his research by referencing the 7th Berlin and 3rd Athens Biennales. In his analysis, Kompatsiaris illustrates the transition of the biennale from simple visual art exhibitions to a platform that promotes significant socio-political dialogues. The author proposes a model of the «discursive biennial», outlining its development dynamics within a larger number of social and political movements and its alignment with the goals of the new institutionalism, aimed at the democratization of public artistic spaces. In the review, we consider Kompatsiaris' argument that articulates the «ambiguous politics» inherent in the biennale and his call for deeper engagement with local contexts to enhance the ambitions of the activists powering these events. Despite minor editorial flaws, the book contains an important text offering arguments, a theoretical framework, and case studies that significantly contribute to the discussion of contemporary art exhibitions and their relationship with socio-political narratives. This review combines book highlights with insights from various sources and a collaborative review article to provide a nuanced understanding of the intellectual terrain Kompatsiaris navigated in his exploration of the Biennale of Contemporary Art.

 

 

Published

2024-01-23

Issue

Section

Surveys and Reviews

How to Cite

Dynamics and dialectics: unraveling the politics of the contemporary art biennale: Review on Kompatsiaris, P., 2017, The Politics of Contemporary Art Biennials: Spectacles of Critique, Theory and Art. New York: Routledge. (2024). Text and Image: Essential Problems in Art History, 2(16). https://doi.org/10.17721/2519-4801.2023.2.08