Beside the exhibition of Mediations Biennale, the important item of the agenda is the conference The Unknown – Niepojmowalne, realised by Fundacja Mediations Biennale in cooperation with Uniwersytet Artystyczny in Poznan.

1. Conference: The Unknown – Niepojmowalne

15.09. 2012– 10:00 – Centrum Kultury Zamek -Poznań

During three sessions the curators of Mediations Biennale will give  presentations: Denise Carvalho (Brasil, USA), Friedhelm Mennekes (Germany), Fumio Nanjo (Japan) and Tomasz Wendland (Poland).

Also artists: Alex Villar (Brasil), Lenore Malen (USA), Heather Dewey Hagborg (USA), Piotr Kurka (Poland), Grzegorz Klaman (Poland) among others and theoreticians: among others Hyun Jeung Kim (Korea), Paz Moreno Feliu (Spain), Kimon Morley (Great Britain/Korea), Jörg Scheller (Switzerland), Shaheen Merali (Great Britain) will take part in discussions.

2. Konferencja – Niepokazane / The Unshown Conference 

A Symposium on the Limits, Blind Spots, and Dark Fields of Large-Scale Exhibitions of Contemporary Art.

16.09.2012 – 10:00 – Concordia Design – Poznań

An initiative which gathers journalists from all over the world: from  Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, Israel, Brasil, South Korea, Great Britain and USA.

Ever since the 19th century, recurrent large-scale exhibitions such as world fairs, biennials, art fairs, or the documenta have not only incorporated more and more artworks from all over the world, but have also included the urban, sometimes even the rural space. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the absorption of visual art into everyday life has accelerated along with the global proliferation of biennials and the global expansion of the art market.

Today, large-scale exhibitions appear as testimonies of the “pictorial turn” (W.J.T. Mitchell), as epitomes of a materialist world in which everything is constantly “on display” – art, commodities, politics, users of social networks, etc. Particulary the new European biennials of the post-colonial and the post-communist era have emerged as instruments to market the unmarketed, to map the unmapped, to show the unshown, to make known the unknown – unknown artists, unknown regions, unknown dicourse, et cetera. In general, art biennials aim at extending the “overt world”, as opposed to the “covert world”.

The third Mediations Biennale, in turn, has chosen “The Unknown” as its central theme. This choice may provoke a knee-jerk objection. Some may argue that a cloudy fascination for “the unknown” most likely leads to esotericism, mysticism, or spiritualism. However, “the unknown” as a curatorial theme may not only refer to spirituality in contemporary art, but also to the limits, blind spots, and dark fields of large-scale exhibitions of contemporary art “the unshown”. Proceeding from the aforementioned observations concerning the “overt” character of art biennials, the symposium “The Unshown” invites international artists and art critics to discuss the blind spots and limits of the seemingly limitless, illuminative, forever expanding format of large-scale art exhibitions, quasi ‘in the lion’s den’. The questions and problems to be addressed are, but not limited to:

  •      What kind of art experience is possible, and which kind of art experience is impossible in the context of large-scale exhibitions? Does large-scale exhibitions distract us from engaging with artworks in a reflective, sustainable manner?
  •      Large-scale art exhibtions are often referred to as “laboratories” or as sites of “artistic research”. But what specific types of knowledge and insight do large-scale exibitions bring forward? Can their excess of visibility also be considered as blinding, thus creating opaque spots rather than transparent fields of knowledge?
  •      Is it actually possible to adress “the unknown” precisely by a large-scale exhibition which, historically speaking, has rather been linked with materialism (e.g. world fairs), tourism (e.g. biennials) or knowledge production (e.g. documenta)? How does globalized contemporary art, arguably the main focus of all biennials, deal with “the unknown”, that is, with the mystic, the non-graspable, the irrational?

Concept: Jörg Scheller

Organizer: Mediations Biennale & co-operation partners

Justyna Ryczek UAP. 501 528 517   justyna.ryczek@uap.edu.pl

Jörg Scheller joerg.scheller@sik-isea.ch http://www.sik-isea.ch


  • Juraj Carny (SK), AICA, Flashart
  • Samuel Herzog (CH), Neue Zürcher Zeitung
  • Hyun Jeung Kim (KR), Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
  • Jaroslaw Lubiak (PL), Muzeum Sztuki Lodzi
  • Gabriela Mafort (BR), Globonews
  • Saul Ostrow (US), a.o. Art in America, Sculpture magazine
  • Hanno Rauterberg (DE), Die Zeit
  • Jörg Scheller (CH/DE), a.o. Die Zeit, Frieze d/e
  • Smadar Sheffi (IL), Haaretz Magazine
  • Noemi Smolik (DE), a.o. Art Forum
  • Karolina Staszak (PL), Arteon magazine

3. The Conference – Obraz/The Image

14 – 16.09.2012 – Wyższa Szkoła Nauk Humanistycznych i Dziennikarstwa -Poznań

host: Common Ground Publishing – University of Illinois Research Park, USA

Plenary Speakers:

  • Jasia Reichardt – writer and art exhibition organizer
  • Miha Turšič – industrial and digital visualizations designer
  • Tomasz Wendland – Chairman of Mediations Biennale Foundation

Dragan Živadinov – theatre and post-gravitational production with around 80 scientists and art historians from all over the world more informations: http://ontheimage.com/the-conference/

Read more about Mediations Biennale