The Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art was founded on March 26, 1996 by Klaus Biesenbach, founding director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and a group of collectors and patrons of the arts. The idea of establishing a biennial in Germany was inspired by the Venice Biennale in 1995. Following the demise of aperto – the forum for young contemporary art founded in 1981 – there was much discussion about the need to heighten the profile of contemporary art in Berlin, a fact which undoubtedly accelerated the project’s progress.
The aim of the association was to organise a representative, international exhibition of contemporary art in Berlin every two years and to attract attention to less established younger artists. The exhibition’s original and most important institutional partner is the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, which still provides the Berlin Biennale with the use of its exhibition spaces. The Berlin Biennale has established itself as an open space that experiments, identifies and critically examines the latest trends in the art world. The innovative character of this ‘art lab’, which tries and tests the greenest shoots in the art world is to be expanded, with the particular aim of giving young artists the opportunity to introduce themselves to broad sections of the public.
Although the exhibition has an essentially public character, it also has an inner forum in which event organizers, artists, curators, selected critics, cooperation partners, sponsors and promoters committed to the advancement of this association work at shaping the exhibition and its seismographic interpretation of current cultural and social developments. Since its inception, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art has become an important event of contemporary art worldwide. As as experimental context-specific recurring exhibition, the Berlin Biennale explores artistic developments and visions from within the art scene of one of the most unusual cultural capitals in Europe where it also presents them.