In view of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, a comprehensive biennial project in Kyiv long seemed deeply uncertain, if not impossible. But, with a cascade of openings – starting in Kyiv and Vienna in October 2023, finishing in Berlin in 2024 – the fifth Kyiv Biennial will take place. This Biennial edition is conceived as a European event, with dispersed exhibitions and public programs in a number of Ukrainian and EU cities, and realized in partnership with leading European institutions in the field of contemporary art.

Instead of abandoning the project and thus submitting to the logic of war that attacks everything civil, the 2023 Biennial draws upon its founding idea: that of being a multi-centric initiative in a European, interconnected and solidary form. Art institutions in Ukraine (in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhhorod) organize presentations and events in their endangered yet working infrastructures. Despite the late start of planning due to the war, museums and exhibition halls in Vienna (the main exhibition spot), Warsaw and Berlin, together with venues in other European cities, have freed up their spaces and platforms for exhibitions and events with Ukrainian and international artists as well as for discursive, performative and educational activities. Together, the institutions have formed a curatorial consortium to jointly create a conceptual framework within which they develop their respective Kyiv Biennial programs.

How can a country at war address political, social, cultural and societal issues? Today, the experience of artists and cultural workers in Ukraine is profoundly marked by war trauma, displacement, lack of access to basic resources and, in many cases, direct involvement in armed resistance or the experience of life under military occupation. This poses existential challenges for the future of art and cultural production in Ukraine. The upcoming Biennial aims at reintegrating the Ukrainian artistic community, divided and scattered throughout Europe by the war, in order to empower its actors to work and reflect collectively and together with international colleagues on cultural, social and environmental challenges Ukraine is currently facing and to imagine scenarios for an emancipatory future within a global context.

The Kyiv Biennial strategy, developed in the course of its four previous editions, merges artistic production, critical knowledge and social engagement in the times of emergency, where curatorship goes far beyond its contemporary meaning of an artistic and organizational practice and becomes resignified with its original sense of restoration, rehabilitation and relief, thus suggesting not a biennial, but a perennial long-run international project, a “Kyiv Perennial.”

Kyiv Biennial 2023 is conceived and organized by the Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv) together with (Vienna), (Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Cluj, Iași, Prague and Vienna), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Museum Crisis Center (Lviv), Other Edges, Dovzhenko Centre (Kyiv), Asortymentna Kimnata (Ivano-Frankivsk) and Sorry, No Rooms Available (Uzhhorod).

Exhibition at Augarten Contemporary, Vienna
Duration:18.10. – 17.12.2023, Wed–Sun 12–6 pm
Curated by Serge Klymko, Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer

Other locations in Vienna (open Wed–Sun 12–6 pm):
hoast, Große Sperlgasse 25, 1020 Vienna
IG Architektur, Gumpendorfer Straße 63B, 1060 Vienna (window installation, open 24/7)
Laurenz, Linke Wienzeile 36/1c, 1060 Vienna
Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Rennweg 110-116, 1030
Never At Home, Sachsenplatz 4–6, 1200 Vienna
Waffen Franz Kapfer, Heinestraße 3, 1020 Vienna
Associated Project: New Jörg, Jägerstraße 56, 1200

Curator's Guided Tours
Saturday, 2 pm
Meeting Point: Augarten Contemporary
Sunday, 2 pm
Meeting Point: Neuer Kunstverein Wien
Participation free of charge

Tour Dates November:
Sat 11/11, Sun 12/11, Sat 18/11, Sun 19/11, Sat 25/11, Sun 25/11
Vienna Art Week: Fri 17/11, 3 pm @ Augarten Contemporary
Tour Dates December:
Sat 2/12, Sun 3/12, Sat 9/12, Sun 10/12, Sat 16/12, Sun 17/12

Side Events:

Concert FlügelnWund I
Sun 12.11. from 4.30 pm
Venue: Augarten Contemporary, admission free
Viktor Andriichenko, voice and violin
Natalia Lynnyk - viola
Michael Babics - cello
Moderation: Irene Suchy
Works by Arvo Pärt, Zoltan Almashi, Valentin Silvestrow.
A project by

Concert FlügelnWund II
Date: Sat 16.12. from 4.30 pm
Venue: Augarten Contemporary, admission free
Ensemble REIHEZykan+
Katharina Adamczyk, soprano
Johanna Zachhuber, alto
Richard Klein, tenor
Gebhard Heegmann, bass
Viktor Andriichenko, violin
Michael Mautner, conductor
Irene Suchy: Moderation
Works by
Otto M. Zykan / Michael Mautner: Ping Peng Peng / doit on douter Karmella Tsepokolenko / Serhij Zhadan: Woher schwarzer Tross Maria Gstaettner / Maria Lassnig: Lasso
Kurt Schwitters / Michael Mautner: Ursonate
Patricia Kopatchinskaja: FlügelnWund

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