04th June 2009

Proposal No. 4

Gateshead Biennial

Taking the concept of the 9th Istanbul Biennial as a starting point, the Gateshead Biennial will invite a percentage of the invited artists to live and work in Gateshead, the city centre and the surrounding countryside, for a 1 – 12 month period.

Artists will be able to work with local businesses, local communities and in empty shops and buildings in the city centre, urban areas and local countryside. The Biennial will allow artists to live and work in and with local communities and allow locals and visitors engage with artists and their work in their own environment. The work produced will be presented at the inaugural Biennial in Summer 2014. This aspect of the Biennial will be flexible but act as a framework for all Biennials.

An important aspect of the Gateshead Biennial is to allow the local community to have an important role in its development and conception with the aim of getting away from the idea of the uber curator (and artist) being dropped in without actually fully understanding the location they are presenting their work in.

Gateshead Biennial’s aim is not to become another art event on the circuit but to be truly rooted in both the local, national and international as something which simultaneously looks in to the local whilst looking out to the international.

For each Biennial an artist and curator will be invited to curate the Biennial with assistance from local artists and curators and recent graduates. ‘James & Jones’ will curate the inaugural Biennial under the title of ‘The Understated’, aiming to look at Gateshead’s position and location in the North East, as a forward thinking town, yet overlooked for its bigger neighbours such as Newcastle and Sunderland. It will act as a way of looking at the conflicts and relationships and understand the real and unconscious locality of Gateshead within the area. There will be a publication and a series of events in collaboration with local organisations.

Ben Jones

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