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Mediating spaces: some considerations on the spaces of large-scale art exhibitions

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Large-scale temporary art exhibitions such as biennials present special characteristics which in turn illuminate broader questions of art practice, curatorship and cultural management, as well as cultural and social affect. This article considers the third Berlin biennale for contemporary art, focusing its initial discussion on questions of exhibition space including hub forms that attempt to break from conventional art-viewing practices. The article further considers the relationship of specific exhibition sites with prior social, cultural and economic histories to the reception of art, inquiring what is at stake in the semiological management of sites of representation, with particular focus on three Berlin locations. Contrasting neo-liberal approaches to large exhibitions structured as commodities in major sites such as the Palais de Tokyo in Paris or London's Tate Modern, with less consumerist and more participative approaches, the analysis considers alternatives to current practice on the part of cultural managers and curators, and debates what is at stake for cultural politics in developing modes of art practice and exhibition.

Keywords: art biennials; autonomous art zones; exhibition space; site-specificity; sites of representation; temporary art venues

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Malm Art Academy, Lund University.

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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