The newly created curatorial working group consists of Aziza Harmel, Rado Ištok, Renan Laru-an, AAU’s faculty member Piotr Sikora and the collective. Over the course of this year and the next, the group will be preparing the concept for the second edition of the biennale, which will take place in the summer of 2022 in Prague. The group was formed through an open selection process in which over 30 curators participated. The thematic foundation of the planned biennale builds on current discussions about the decolonization of art institutions with an aim to develop them within the Eastern European context.

Complete curatorial working group during a joint online meeting. Photo: (c)

Biennale Ve věci umění / Matter of Art comprises the international exhibition of contemporary art taking place once every two years as well as the platform’s long-term
activities, which engage in critical reflection of the institutional aspects of the biennale format in the Central and Eastern European context as well as in connection to the global art scene and current social, political, and economic contexts.

Given the thematic framework of the forthcoming biennial, it was important for us to create a space for dialogue and cooperation across a variety of social, theoretical, artistic and cultural contexts from the outset. We managed to involve curator (s) and theoreticians from several countries in the project, each of which brings a unique perspective. The phenomenon of decolonization is currently the subject of intense debate around the world, and even European cultural institutions raise fundamental questions and challenges that cannot be overlooked. The biennial project based on international cooperation should reflect these foreign discussions, but it is crucial for us that it is also firmly anchored in the local context. The staff of the initiative will be an integral part of the curatorial group. With this step we want to disrupt the established principles of the hierarchy of power, which are often present within cultural institutions. We also want to emphasize that the value anchoring of the biennial reflects equally the work of the entire institution – not only its curatorial and programmatic, but also the production and organizational component. They are all equally important and difficult to separate from each other.

Tereza Stejskalová on behalf of the team.

AAU’s faculty member Piotr Sikora (born 1986 in Krakow) is a critic and curator of contemporary art. He defended his master’s thesis at the Institute of Art History at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. He is a member of the Polish section of the International Association of Art Critics. His curatorial career began with a collaboration with the ArtBoom festival in Krakow between 2009 and 2015. During 2013 and 2015, Sikora served as director of the ShowOFF section of the Krakow Photography Month. and from 2013 to 2014 as the curator of the visual arts program of the Małopolska Garden of Arts in Kraków. In his exhibition projects, he often works with the politics of identities, stereotypes and prejudices concerning so-called Central Europe (a shaky geopolitical concept that describes the space between the former Eastern and Western blocs). Sikora explores the relationship between pop culture, politics and the art world. In his curatorial practice, he focuses on the development of methods for the deconstruction of great narratives, while using irony, exaggeration and provocation. This approach was also reflected in his exhibitions They Don’t Know Why, but They Keep Doing It , Czech Pope , Slav Squatting and Its Discontents , as well as two projects created in collaboration with Łukasz Białkowski Intermarium and  Swag and Threats. Piotr Sikora lives and works in Prague, where he works as a curator of the AiR MeetFactory program. Together with Lucia Kvočáková, he initiated the creation of the program The New Dictionary of Old Ideas. He is of course also a lecturer at the Anglo-American University in Prague. Sikora is an ardent player of bike polo and father of a son, Bořivoj. He lives and works in Prague.