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The biennialisation of art worlds

What is the biennialisation of the art world?
Biennialisation is a difficult word to say, and it comes from biennial or biennale, which is Italian for biennial, and which is a term that indicates a recurrent international and independent exhibition, generally in visual art. Although, now there are biennials in other genres. So when we say by biennialisation, we mean that this model, this kind of exhibition is being replicated in different contexts mainly in different territorial context, so not just in Europe where it was born with the Venice biennial, but also in other continents and everywhere. And it is also replicated across art genres. The biennial originally was art, only visual arts. And then now there are other types of biennials in other types of art.
So it’s the spread of a format. But that becomes much more. It’s also the fact that more and more what happens in visual art, the cutting edge of visual art, the trends is established through biennials. So they are where the rationale for visual art is being, in a way, created and diffused to a great extent, not totally, but they are really important hubs of contemporary visual art. And that wasn’t the case before. It’s definitely the case, especially since the late 20th century and especially in the 21st century. So in that sense, it’s a process, and that’s why biennialisation.

Watch this video, where Monica Sassatelli, from the University of Bologna, answers the question: “What is the biennialisation of the art world?”

Monica Sassatelli points out two aspects of biennialisation:

  • The fact that the biennial model, as an exhibition format, has been replicated throughout the world.

  • The fact that the norms of the art world are increasingly set biennials.

What do you think?

Do you think that biennialisation can lead to a homogenization of culture?

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