Biennale Matter of Art

14. 6. – 29. 9. 2024

Alicja Rogalska & Platforma Výkvět – performance at the public event Grafting Resilience, Hraničář, Ústí nad Labem, 14.12.2023 (c) Tereza Havlínková

The third edition of the Biennale Matter of Art will take place from June 14, 2024, to September 29, 2024, in the Grand Hall of the National Gallery Prague and other venues. Curated by Katalin Erdődi and Aleksei Borisionok, the project will also feature a new bilingual publication comprising theoretical texts and artistic contributions. Admission to the biennale as well as the accompanying public program will be free of charge.

tranzit.cz has commissioned several artists to create new works for the biennale, such as painter Kateryna Lysovenko, interdisciplinary artists Alicja Rogalska and Nikita Kadan, filmmaker and researcher Marta Popivoda, the research group DAVRA (represented by Madina Joldybek, Zumrad Mirzalieva, and Saodat Ismailova), artist, curator, and architect Zbyněk Baladrán, artist and researcher Tomáš Uhnák, and the collective Björnsonova.

A complete list of artists will be announced in April 2024. Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive updates about the project.

The Biennale Matter of Art was founded in 2020 to explore whether and how it is possible to do larger-scale exhibition projects as political and institutional interventions. The first two editions, held in 2020 and 2022, helped to establish the biennale as a space for voices and perspectives that are not often present or go unnoticed in the mainstream public discourse, even though they can offer lessons in resilience and solidarity. The biennale continues this line in the current edition, foregrounding acts of resistance as resources for hope.

(c) Carolina Frank

The two curators, Katalin Erdődi and Aleksei Borisionok, graft their interests in rural change as social change and the legacies and futures of workers’ movements in order to focus on forgotten stories of social unrest and underrepresented micro-histories of sociopolitical transformation in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. Bringing together diverse artistic contributions and discursive interventions, the curators look for the resonances between historical struggles and the contemporary moment. Working through the notion of grafting – taken from agriculture and medicine – Matter of Art creates connections between social movements across the changing contexts of the rural and the urban, attending to how the notion of work and the worker finds new meanings. The Biennale Matter of Art marks the first ever collaboration between Erdődi and Borisionok, who are both based in Vienna.

“The unfolding global crisis spans from the extractive work of bodies and algorithms to the exhaustion of living conditions on our planet. Therefore, we ask what can be retrieved from the history of workers’ movements. Labor unrest, both failed and successful, can illuminate the present moment and possible futures of solidarity, political organizing, and justice,” says curator and writer Aleksei Borisionok. He has written for various magazines and publications and curated exhibitions on education and unlearning, workers’ movements and strikes, social movements, and artistic practices in Vilnius, Kyiv, Stockholm, Vienna, and Minsk.

“Rural areas provide for our basic needs, from food to diverse resources and raw materials, which makes rural and urban lives deeply entangled and interdependent. Nevertheless, the voices of people living and working in the countryside are often missing from the public discourse. I am interested in what we can learn from the rural: How can we look beyond cultural stereotypes that tend to regard the countryside as politically backwards and passive and recognize its political potential?” asks curator and dramaturg Katalin Erdődi. Since 2017 Erdődi has been researching rural change through site-specific, collaborative artistic, and curatorial approaches, working across different rural contexts in Hungary, Germany, and Spain.

The biennale is organized by the initiative tranzit.cz in cooperation with the National Gallery Prague. The exhibition architecture will be designed by artist Dominik Lang and architect Adéla Vavříková, and the visual identity was created by the Amsterdam-based studio The Rodina. Tereza Stejskalová is the director of tranzit.cz as well as the biennale. Karin Akai is the publications manager, while Nela Pietrová and Max Dvořák manage PR and communications for the project. Helena Jonášová is the financial manager, and František Fekete is the head of production. The main partner of tranzit.cz is the ERSTE Foundation. The biennale is a part of the project Art Space Unlimited, which is co-funded by the European Union. The artistic and curatorial residencies and public program are funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU.