It’s Official: After Much Turmoil, Second Kiev Biennale Opens in September

Curators of the 2nd Kiev Biennale Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer Photo: via Vienna Art fair

After months of uncertainty and a surprise, unilateral decision announcing its cancellation, followed by a counter-announcement by the curators denying it, the Kiev Biennale is back on under the title “The School of Kiev.”

The second Kiev Biennale—originally scheduled for 2014—suffered cancellation rumors and delays due to fundraising problems and the ongoing violence and instability in Ukraine.

But organizers announced earlier this week that the biennale, curated by Hedwig Saxenhuber and Georg Schöllhammer, is taking place from September 8 to November 1 this year.

The organizers of the biennale have partnered with the Kiev arts non-profit Visual Culture Research Center to realize the event.

The Mystetskyi Arsenal, location of the Kiev Biennale. Photo:

The event was cancelled after the government refused to provide the original venue, the Mystetskyi Arsenal.

Funding will be provided by various European governments, foundations, and institutions, which came on board after the Ukrainian government withdrew its support and refused to provide the Mystetskyi Arsenale, the venue that hosted the first biennale.

According to a statement on the Biennial Foundation website, the House of Clothes, a former department store in Kiev’s Lvivska Square, will serve as the new primary venue, which emphasizes the biennale’s “intention and potential for developing new art infrastructure in Kiev.”

The event goes ahead despite ongoing instability and violence in the Ukraine Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters via RT

The event is going ahead despite the ongoing instability and violence in Ukraine
Photo: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters via RT

Over 50 participating artists, including international art stars such as Hito Steyerl, Tony Chakar, and Doug Ashford, have been grouped into six different “schools,” each exploring different themes, including artists who have become refugees for political reasons, images used in propaganda wars, and the imagery of land in shaping national identities.

The School of Kiev” takes place in different locations across Kiev from September 8 – November 1.  

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