Talks / Workshops

Call for Applications: Young Curators Workshop at the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art/KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
Deadline: 01 May 2016

Call for Applications: Young Curators Workshop at the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Based on the success of the Young Curators Workshop held in relation from the 4th to the 8th Berlin Biennale, KW Institute for Contemporary Art in cooperation with Allianz Cultural Foundation, BMW and ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen decided to continue this idea of exchange between young curators and to organize the Young Curators Workshop during the course of the 9th edition of the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.


Concept: Post-contemporary Art

Given our entry into what is best described as post-democratic financial feudalism, art’s role and function in society – and of future possibilities – are increasingly in need of reconstruction. Contemporary art offers no solutions because of the strong alliance it has built with the politico-economic reality of neoliberal capitalism over the past decades. Contemporary art is now prevalently a booming decorative-cognitive art industry contributing to the new post-capitalist artistic economy by its aesthetically stylized fabrication for manufacturing, immaterial and cognitive production, the destruction of waged labor, etc. The short-term work contracts of event-based art fairs and biennials are prototypical of socially precarious neoliberal employment practices. On the other hand, there are serious attempts for a non-aesthetic, non-sensory based approach that require abstraction: a cognitive mapping of the new global infrastructures and transformations.

Now that the (denunciatory) gesture of critique has itself become institutionalized and stabilizing of extant political and economical systems, a younger generation of artists and curators increasingly accepts art as first and foremost an economy, exploring the institutionally transformative potential of artworks (or indeed art itself) for being a brand. Instead of exposing or critiquing institutional mechanisms, their focus is on mobilizing these mechanisms and testing the limits of their progressive tendencies. The questions that are now emerging ask: can biennials and similar platforms also function as launch pads for less self-effacing institutions and openly strategic infrastructure-building? How can the capital flows currently overcoming older forms of sovereignty – the nation-state that was particularly relevant for the organization of the biennial format – be channeled in more politically progressive directions?

Given the increasing lack of stable employment and adequate financial compensations for young emerging curators, the ten days of workshops and its various activities – seminars, studio- and exhibition-visits, meetings with established artists and curators – do not simply aim to enhance the individual professional networks of the participants. They will also and instead work towards establishing a curatorial ethos and concrete projects that provide alternatives to the limited exhibition format. The Young Curators Workshop will therefore be used as a launch pad to build new durable infrastructures.

Contemporary art has been the art of its time, bound to the capitalist present in which it took place. In today’s post-contemporary condition – which is being constructed by financial capitalism as well as social media, the military, artificial intelligence, big data, etc. – the present is operationalized as risk or contingency; that is, by a relation to the future. The ambition now, under these conditions, must be to regain futural traction on the present that the historical avant-gardes and modernism proposed while learning from their mistake of being completely sidelined under the reign of the (neoliberal) contemporary. The focus now is on post-contemporary institutional configurations for a future art and society. There is a future to be constructed.

Armen Avanessian, conception Young Curators Workshop Post-contemporary Art For more information about the topic of the post-contemporary:


Course of Events:

10–12 young international curators will be selected for this workshop. The participants shall carry initial experience in exhibition curating and the group of participants shall ideally be representing a wide variety of countries and continents. Applications must arrive no later than May 1, 2016. Mid of May a jury will then choose the candidates to participate in the workshop.

The selection committee consists of: Armen Avanessian (conception Young Curators Workshop, philosopher and publisher), one representative of DIS (curatorial team 9th Berlin Biennale), Gabriele Horn (director, KW Institute for Contemporary Art/Berlin Biennale), Elke aus dem Moore (head of Visual Arts Department, ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Michael Thoss (managing director, Allianz Cultural Foundation).

The candidates will be informed as soon as possible about their participation (at the latest by May 31, 2016). With the confirmation they will also receive further organizational details on the general travel planning as well as additional information on the program (panels, seminars with leading curators, artists talks, studio visits related to the 9th Berlin Biennale).

The period specified for the Young Curators Workshop is September 8 to 18, 2016; however, the exact dates can be subject to change.

Flight and accommodation will be covered by the 9th Berlin Biennale/KW Institute for Contemporary Art.


Applications should arrive by May 1, 2016.
Workshop Dates: 8 – 17.9.2016 
Date of Arrival:  7.9.2016 
Date of Departure: 18.9.2016


Application conditions:

•Language: Candidates must be fluent in English (passive and active). The workshop will be held in English thus candidates must be able to give short presentations in English

•Age: Applicants must be no older than 35 years

•Experience: Candidates should have experience in the field of contemporary art
presentation (such as curating art exhibitions, developing online journals or printed matter projects, initiating time based, discursive events, creating platforms, etc.)
The application should contain the following documents:


•Personal statement/Letter of motivation, stating why the candidate would like to
participate in the workshop and his/her experience with the contemporary art field
(max. 2 pages)

•Contact information: full name, e-mail, phone number, postal address, nationality
Please send applications in English and in digital form – we can only accept doc/docx/pdf – as ONE document

Application deadline: 1.5.2016
Application should be sent to:


A cooperation between Allianz Cultural Foundation, BMW, ifa – Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art/KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

Organized by the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art/KW Institute for Contemporary Art.



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