Emergency Biennale in Chechnya was conceived as a reaction to the destruction of a people and culture.
Emergency Biennale in Chechnya was conceived and organized by independent Paris and San Francisco-based curator Evelyne Jouanno as an echo to the first Moscow Biennial and as a reaction to the destruction of a people and culture.
Drawing attention to the plight of Chechnya and more broadly to human and social emergencies in the context of ‘ambivalent globalization’ while also questioning the phenomenon and proliferation of international Biennials, the Emergency Biennale in Chechnya opened in 2005 on different locations in the city of Grozny, and simultaneously in Paris, at the Palais de Tokyo.
Organized without funding and at the peak of the Chechen wars, the suitcase, as a practical means and a symbol with strong connotations, was adopted to transport small and light works to Grozny. More than sixty international artists, established and emerging, provided one artwork and its duplicate—created to fit into suitcases—clandestinely sent to Chechnya and shipped to different cities in the world for mirror exhibitions.
After Paris, the touring part of the exhibit moved on to Brussels, Bolzano, Milan, Riga, Tallinn, Vancouver, Puebla, Istanbul, and San Francisco. In each location new artists have been invited, conferences organized, and additional suitcases readied to be sent to Chechnya. The touring exhibit stops in Grozny where the artworks will join their twins and the collection will become the foundation for a museum.
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