Home > Current events > 3RD THESSALONIKI BIENNALE OF CONTEMPORARY ART ‘Old Intersections-Make it New’

‘Old Intersections-Make it New’

Opening: Sunday September 18, 2011 l SMCA, Moni Lazariston, 19:30 (The Biennale venues will open to the public on Sunday 18.09 and Monday 19.09 from 12:00 onwards)

A Mediterranean platform of contemporary creation with over 70 artists in 14 different venues (main and parallel programme).

Imran Qureshi, Moderate Enlightenment, 2009 Opaque watercolour on wasli
51.5 x 42.5 cm, IQ09-3 Private Collection, Venice Courtesy: Corvi-Mora, London



Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism
State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece
21 Kolokotroni Street, Stavroupoli 56430




Katerina Koskina


• Curators: Paolo Colombo, Mahita El Bacha Urieta, Marina Fokidis.
• Assistant Curators: Domna Gounari, Anna Mykoniati (SMCA).


Melina Melikidou
• Tel. +30 2310 589-190
• E-mail : melina@greekstatemuseum.com

Focused on the Mediterranean region, the culture, the people, their emotions, their suffering and problems, viewed through a contemporary visual outlook, this year’s organisation comprises a main and a parallel programme including exhibitions, an international workshop of young artists, a performance festival, a symposium and a variety of artistic events, building up in every part of the city. It is the first joint venture of the “5 Museums’ Movement in Thessaloniki”(5M) consisted of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, the Museum of Byzantine Culture, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, the Teloglion Foundation of Art AUTh and the leader of the project, the State Museum of Contemporary Art-Costakis Collection.

The 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art is funded under the Operational Programme Macedonia-Thrace 2007-2013, and is co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund), with the SMCA as the lawful beneficiary.

It is also part of the “Thessaloniki: Cultural Crossroads” programme of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which focuses on the Middle East this year, as well, and is supported by the City of Thessaloniki and the Department of Culture, Education and Tourism, the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, and other cultural and educational partners jointly.

The Main Programme: A Rock and a Hard Place

In the current climate of gathering instability that holds great promise, as well as danger, the title A Rock and a Hard Place resonates powerfully. It captures the sense of fragility and jeopardy that looms over the wider politics of the Mediterranean and the psychology of the individual. Affected by a sense of impending danger and ‘Hamletic’ doubt, contemporary artists produce work that is often characterised by a defensive, ironic stance. The main programme derives its inspiration from the city, as a metaphor of the powerful multicultural character of its past history. Each and every one of the biennale venues (5 historical monuments and 5 museums) constitutes an episode of the all-embracing narrative. These episodes are inspired both by the former and the current use of these buildings, by the past and contemporary contribution to the social life and political game of the city, and the artists and the works hosted have been chosen within this particular framework. Therefore, the visitors of the exhibitions will be walking around the city and at the same time will be playing a part in its life and history.

Going further: the parallel programme

A very rich parallel programme has been set up. At the Archaeological Museum, “The Jews in Thessaloniki. Indelible marks in space” is an attempt towards the recomposition of the palimpsest of the major Jewish community in Greece. At the Museum of Byzantine Culture, ‘Byzantium & the Arabs’ presents the relations and interactions that were developed between the Byzantium and the Arabs from the 7th century A.D. till 1453 (fall of Constantinople by the Ottomans) aiming at the revelation of characteristic aspects of both cultures. At the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, “Roaming Images” is a nomadic forum that brings the West and the East together, through the search of the various concepts of ‘image’, along with the ideologies and geo-cultural state of affairs that fostered them.

Francis Al˙s, The Green Line
(Sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic), 2005
Documentation of an action Edition of 1, EP
Courtesy David Zwirner, New York

From the Costakis Collection to the Thessaloniki Performance Festival

At the Moni Lazariston (State Museum of Contemporary Art), the seat of the Costakis Collection, works of the Russian Avant-Garde are presented in the two central exhibition halls, into thematic unities, and in accordance with a selection of works of the artists participating in the main programme. At the Teloglion Foundation, “Pieces and Fragments from Fustat” highlights issues such as the value of the fragment as a record of culture, from the first capital of Egypt during the period of Arab dominion (7th century A.D.). The International Young Artists’ Workshop / “Domino” will take place from September 18 to October 7 (followed by an exhibition until November 7) while the Thessaloniki Performance Festival, with ORLAN as a guest of honour, is scheduled from September 19 to September 25.. Finally, on November 2011 (the exact date and venue will be announced) the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art will embrace a meeting of the Mediterranean Cultural Parliament (M.C.P.) which will go along with a sequence of lectures.

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