UIBCA Main Project. Urban Fauna Laboratory_ Photo - Evgeny Litvinov



Art festivals taking place in unexpected locations at the end of this year that you probably haven’t heard of yet 


Biennale is an event that takes place every two years. It has become an essential part of the art world as we know it. This form of an art festival or – more precisely – a large-scale international exhibition became extremely popular in the era of globalisation, characterised by extreme mobility of artists, curators, galleries, collectors and the visitors. The term itself was popularised by The Venice Biennale, first held in 1895. Ever since then, the phrase has been used for other events taking place in the art world. Today, biennales happen all over the globe, often in quite unexpected locations. Our team has selected seven biennales, starting with Göteborg and Tallinn and ending with Porto. We did all the research for you, so you can go ahead and plan your travel accordingly.


10th GIBCA, Göteborg, Sweden 

07 September – 17 November 2019

Preview: 6 September 2019

Curator: Lisa Rosendahl

Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art celebrates its tenth edition this year. Titled Part of the Labyrinth, GIBCA 2019 makes use of the term interconnectedness as both motif and method. The biennial takes the form of an exhibition woven between four principal venues, accompanied by public programs and commissions.

GIBCA is known for the collaboration with a wide network of art organisations in West Sweden. Between September and November 2019 more than 50 museums, artist-run spaces, galleries and temporary initiatives will join under the umbrella of GIBCA Extended.

With the participation of 35 artists, Part of the Labyrinth focuses on the complicated relationship between colonialism, industrialism and their connection to environmental destruction, as well as the interplay between human and non-human ways of looking at the world.


goteborg international biennial

TAB 2019, Tallinn, Estonia

Opening week: 11 – 15 September 2019

Curator: Dr Yael Reisner

Tallin Architecture Biennale, organized by Estonian Centre for Architecture is an international architecture and urban planning festival with a diverse programme that focuses on promoting architectural culture. Its 2019 edition is titled Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty. TAB encourages collaboration between Estonian and foreign architects as well as between architects and the general public by way of networking. The core programme consists of five main events: Curatorial Exhibition, Symposium and Vision Competition (all curated by TAB head curator Dr Yael Reisner), an International Architecture Schools’ Exhibition and Installation Programme. Moreover, the programme is accompanied by a diverse Satellite Programme which consists of exhibitions, installations, architectural film projections and other events spread around the city.


talin biennale 2019

5th Ural Industrial Biennial, Yekaterinburg & Sverdlovsk region, Russia

12 September – 1 December 2019

Commissioner: Alisa Prudnikova

Curator of the Main Project: Xiaoyu Weng

The Ural Industrial Biennial is one of the largest international projects in the field of contemporary art happening in today’s Russia. It’s been organised and conducted by the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) as a part of ROSIZO in Ekaterinburg and the Ural region since 2010. The Biennial takes place once every two years, with exhibitions held in the industrial areas of Ekaterinburg and the cities of the Sverdlovsk region.

The Biennial explores the concept of industrialism both as cultural heritage and actual practice in the Ural region. Utilizing art as a relevant resource, the Biennial integrates the region into the context of international art scene. Curators, artists, sociologists and cultural theorists from around the world try to define the Urals in innovative ways. Over the course of the last Biennial its participants were: 300 artists from 70 countries, 100 cultural institutions and exhibition spaces, 60 researchers of contemporary culture and history;14 plants and factories in the city and the region were used as exhibition venues.


UIBCA Main Project. Urban Fauna Laboratory_ Photo - Evgeny Litvinov

UIBCA Main Project. Urban Fauna Laboratory_ Photo – Evgeny Litvinov


16th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey

14 September – 10 November 2019

Curator: Nicolas Bourriaud

The Istanbul Biennial, launched in 1987 by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, has become a fixture on the international contemporary art map and gained a reputation for its experimental and unique character. The Biennial creates a platform for interaction between the event itself, the contemporary art scene in Istanbul, and the international art community. In a time of increasingly rapid communication and sharing of experiences, the Biennial has become Istanbul’s main hub for the introduction, debate, and the assessment of current paradigms in both theory and practice of local, international and transnational contemporary art.

The title of the 16th Istanbul Biennial The Seventh Continent refers to a gigantic mass of plastic waste that now covers no less than 3.4 million square kilometres of our oceans – that is almost five times the size of Turkey. It became  a new world made up of debris. But unlike the other ‘New World’ discovered back in the day by Christopher Columbus, it is one that we ourselves have created, without even being aware that we were doing it.


16th istanbul biennial


Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara, Romania

20 September – 27 October

Curators: Maria Lind and Anca Rujoiu

The third edition of The Art Encounters Biennial in Timișoara, a series of context-sensitive commissions, will reflect on contemporary art as a form of understanding which, along with science, politics, literature, and philosophy, helps us tackle the complexity of today’s life. Curators Maria Lind and Anca Rujoiu will match artworks and practices with situations, locations, and questions, placing them alongside existing works of art that will be embedded in the landscape and history of Timișoara. A series of thematic architecture walks through the city will take place among them. The Biennial’s name, Art Encounters, acts as further inspiration for discussion and reflection. Each artwork will be a product of encounters, and the biennial aims to find and develop contact and conflict-free zones with groups and individuals from the global art world.


Art Encounters Biennial


1st Porto Design Biennial, Portugal

19 September – 28 September 2019

Curator: Jose Bartolo Curatorial team

Confronting the tensions of the new millennium, the first edition of Porto Design Biennale seeks to analyse the current disciplinary configuration of design. On one hand the reflection takes into account the historical perspective and tense relationships between remoteness and closeness, contemporary design, and the model of modern design that was in effect until the end of the previous millennium; on the other hand, it is important to identify and evaluate forms and functions of design produced in the first two decades of the current millennium, as well as to reflect on the social efficiency of design and the new intricacies that arise within the economic, technological, political, cultural and environmental circumstances.


porto design biennale


15th Biennale de Lyon, France

18 September 2019 – 05 January 2020

Artistic director: Isabelle Bertolotti

For its 2019 edition, The Biennale of Lyon is unfolding across the region. It aims to be open and accessible to all, reaching beyond the restrictive concept of an exhibition dedicated to one enclosed venue. This new model is based on four complementary platforms located across the region: Veduta, Young International Artists, Associated Exhibitions and Résonance. In Lyon and throughout the metro area, Veduta features artist interventions in collaboration with residents, thus reaching a very wide audience.

This year, and for the first time in consultation with the Biennale curators, a dozen artists will intervene not only in districts of Lyon (seventh and eighth arrondissements) but also in Chassieu, Francheville, Givors, Meyzieu, Rillieux-la-Pape, Saint-Genis-Laval, Vaulx-en-Velin, Bourgoin-Jallieu and Grand Parc Miribel Jonage. Also, for the very first time, the Biennale curators have been invited to help select the participants for Young International Artists, the Biennale branch dedicated in its entirety to emerging names; it is co-produced by the Lyon Biennale, the National Fine Arts School (ENSBA) of Lyon, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes (IAC) and the Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC Lyon), and is being held at the IAC.


la biennale de lyon 2019

Edited and proof read by Paulina Prońko

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