Transnational Circulations and the Emergence of Contemporary Art: The Critical Challenges of Art Biennials in a Global World

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Cristian Nae

Abstract

While the proliferation of art biennials appeared to offer a platform for critical resistance and representation formulated in local terms in an increasingly networked world, their conjunction with (and inseparability from) the global flows of capital and the contemporary experiential culture led to an intensified critical scrutiny in the last decade. This article questions the assumption of the critical agency of low-budget biennials set up in formerly peripheral regions of the world as opposed to the historical ones based on the principles of national representation. Taking into account the micro-histories of cultural exchanges taking place between countries in the former East across the Iron Curtain, it claims that, far from formulating a convincing critique of dominant capitalism or truly challenging the dominant art historical canon, most biennials in the formerly peripheral regions tend to contribute to the replication of global capital, enhancing its trans-national fluidity. The most successful ones in this respect, I would argue, tend to invent new localities and contribute to the critical process through innovative aesthetic formats which become politically sharp discourses.

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How to Cite
NAE, Cristian. Transnational Circulations and the Emergence of Contemporary Art: The Critical Challenges of Art Biennials in a Global World. Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 1, p. 157-169, july 2018. ISSN 0068-3175. Available at: <http://annals.ub-filosofie.ro/index.php/annals/article/view/268>. Date accessed: 21 nov. 2018.
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Articles