The ninth edition of GIBCA has announced its 30-artist line up, which includes names such as Basim Magdy, Etel Adnan, Fahd Burki, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Santiago Mostyn, Archivo F.X. and Haegue Yang, among others (see the full list here).
With Mia Christersdotter Norman at the helm, supported by artistic director Stina Edblom and the GIBCA 2017 curator Nav Haq, the upcoming biennial will stimulate a public discourse on the secular and what role it should have in contemporary social and political institutions.
Titled WheredoIendandyoubegin, appropriated from an artwork by participating artist Shilpa Gupta, the event is based on “the principle of a separation of religious belief and non-belief from the state, contemporary Western liberal secularity strives to create the conditions that produce and protect four civic cornerstones: political and social equality, minority rights, religious freedom, and the legal separation of private and public domains,” states the curatorial remit.
Endeavouring that the audience not confuse secularity with atheism, the artworks on show will explore the role that secularism has played in society and in forming the world as we experience it. Considering topics such as abortion, sexual freedom, religious freedom, gender equality and freedom of expression, the biennial’s message is that secularism’s strength could be its neutrality, which in turn allows for multiple translations, interpretations and versions of existence across the globe.
Bringing the universal issue concretely into today though is GIBCA’s contemplation in relation to crisis. “In the midst of the geo-political upheaval that continues to take place since the beginning of the 21st century, together with an increasing consciousness of fear and precariousness, liberal secularity finds itself under acute pressure,” biennial representatives state. Leading to questions such as what happens during moments of crisis, how can we sustain freedoms, and what is ‘belief’ today, “the biennial will seek to engage with some fundamental questions about Europe, the formalisation of its values, and the fine line between protection and violence.”
And art, GIBCA believes, has a critical role to play in how, and whether, these questions can be answered.
The Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art will run 9 September-19 November at Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg, Sweden. For more information visit gibca.se