3rd Thessaloniki Biennale curated by Paolo Colombo, Mahita El Bacha Urieta, Marina Fokidis, Greece.

The 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is lead by the State Museum of Contemporary Art (SMCA) working collaboratively with the rest of the “Thessaloniki – 5 Museums Movement” (5M): Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and Teloglion Foundation of Art. The Biennale comprises a main and a parallel programmes and focuses on the Mediterranean region under the title OLD INTERSECTIONS – MAKE IT NEW with exhibitions, a workshop for young artists, a performance festival, conferences and a symposium.

Main Programme: A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

In the current climate of gathering instability that holds great promise as well as danger, this title, A Rock and a Hard Place captures the sense of fragility and jeopardy that looms over the wider politics of the Mediterranean and the psychology of the individual. Affected by a sense of impending danger and ‘Hamletic’ doubt, contemporary artists produce work that is often characterised by a defensive, ironic stance. Leaving behind the strong, iconic gestures and sweeping political statements of the past, A Rock and a Hard Place examines the changes, the shifts, and the different perspectives of more than 50 artists. Engaging with the historical significance of the venues and of Thessaloniki—a crucible of cultures for the past 2500 years—the Biennale explores a number of topical issues in Mediterranean region, from social conflict to the quandaries of the individual caught in an economic and existential crisis. The program takes place in five museums and several Islamic monuments and includes special exhibitions and installations, an information centre as well as performances and interactions that address cultural and popular issues in the Mediterranean region.

Director: Katerina Koskina, Head of the Board of Trustees of the SMCA
Advisory Committee: Catherine David, Maria Rosa Girace Pieralisi, Jannis Kounellis, Jessica Morgan and Denys Zacharopoulos.

The 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is part of the “Thessaloniki: Cultural Crossroads” programme of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, focussing this year on the Middle East, and running under the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Department for Culture, Education and Tourism and other cultural and educational partners jointly.

The 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is funded under the Operational Programme Macedonia – Thrace 2007–2013, implemented by the SMCA and co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund).

Paolo Colombo is currently Art Advisor at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. From 2001 to 2007 he was Curator of The Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo in Rome. From 1989 to 2000 he was Director of the Centre d’art contemporain in Geneva. In 1999 he curated the 6th Istanbul Biennial. He has been associate producer of a number of award winning films, more recently “The Edge of Heaven” and “Soul Kitchen” by Fatih Akin and “The Tree” by Julie Bertuccelli.

Mahita El Bacha Urieta is currently Arts Strategist at Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage. Winning curator of Abraaj Capital Art Prize, 2010. Recently worked on Saadiyat Cultural District, UAE and was coordinator of 7th and 8th editions of Sharjah Biennial. Previous work included curating “Arabise Me” (2008–2009); production of Manifesta 6, Nicosia, Cyprus (2006); projects with inIVA, London: “Fault Lines: Contemporary African Art and Shifting Landscapes” 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and “Veil” exhibition.

Marina Fokidis is a curator and writer based in Athens Greece. Amongst other projects she is the founding and artistic director of the newly established Kunsthalle Athena, and has served as the commissioner and the curator of the Greek Pavilion at the 51rst Venice Biennial, (2003) and as one of the curators of the 1rst Tirana Biennial (2001). She has curated several exhibitions and written articles on various book collections and international art magazines.

Contact: STATE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, Thessaloniki, Greece