Nayia Yiakoumaki Appointed Athens Biennale’s New Director of Research

The appointment follows a deep shake up in the biennale’s team.

Nayia Yiakoumaki. Photo courtesy of the Athens Biennale.
Nayia Yiakoumaki. Photo courtesy of the Athens Biennale.

Nayia Yiakoumaki has joined the Athens Biennale team in the midst of a series of changes to its organization while it is mid-way through its fifth instalment. She is assuming the role of director of research and international networks.

Yiakoumaki will be working closely with founding member and new director Poka-Yio (Polydoros Karyofyllis), the visual artist who took over from Xenia Kalpaktsoglou after she—along with program manager Massimiliano Mollona—recently made an unexpected exit from the ongoing 5th Biennale, titled OMONOIA (Concord).

Yiakoumaki’s presence will hopefully boost the Biennale’s reach in intellectual spheres as she has been lecturing on the subject of curating and visual arts in universities in the UK and abroad since 1991.

She will be key in providing an academic perspective after Mollona abandoned ship. It was he who was responsible for the experimental structure of the 5th Athens Biennale, which, unlike the usual biennial model, launched in November of last year and is set to continue into 2017.

In a statement to the press, the Athens Biennale chose not to negatively interpret the recent walkouts, instead citing the current moment as “a phase when the 10 year-old successful biennale strengthens its global reach and outlook.”

Alongside her role at the Athens Biennale, Yiakoumaki remains committed to her work at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, where she has been curator since 2005, establishing a program of exhibitions focused on the use of archives as a curatorial resource. She also devised the NEON Curatorial Exchange & Award, an initiative that cultivates professional relationships for emerging curators.

“I feel privileged to be joining the Athens Biennale whose activity I have followed closely and I look forward to contribute to its future success as a leading international organization for debate and presentation of contemporary art,” Yiakoumaki said in the statement.

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