Biennale Lectures

The Biennale Lectures will be held in cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in the runup to the Austrian contribution to the Biennale Arte 2019. The series, cocurated by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein and Andreas Spiegl, aims to make the Biennale itself the subject of discussion as both a significant and controversial institution. It will feature talks by academics and artists.

The Austrian contribution to the Biennale Arte implicitly combines three art- and cultural-political issues. Each of them will be the subject of a Biennale Lecture.

3. Aesthetics of Risk

The history of feminist art is inextricably linked with an aesthetics of risk. The critique of prevailing role ideals has been and still is a practice of challenging and breaking with the role of normative social ideas. What distinguishes feminist art and criticism is a persevering readiness to approach the means and goals of the respective critique itself in a critical manner and thus to risk running counter to the normative tendencies within one’s own concepts. How are sociopolitical objection and the risk of contradiction related to the divergences and differences that are connected to the history of feminist art and critique?

8. März 2019, 18.30 Uhr
Schauspielhaus, Porzellangasse 19, 1090 Vienna

Inna Shevchenko – FEMEN
»Women‘s body: historical battlefield«

Esther Hutfless & Elisabeth Schäfer
»Taking the risk of a risk. Feminist Critique and Transformations«

Amelia Jones
»Risk Taking Aesthetics:
Feminist Attacks on Art World Structures of Inequity«

Moderation: Felicitas Thun-Hohestein, Andreas Spiegl
Artistic Intervention: Jakob Lena Knebl

Followed by Drinks & DJ Maraton


Inna Shevchenko is holding a degree in journalism and human rights, is a speaker at conferences and a columnist for the international press. She is activist and leader of International women‘s movement FEMEN. She was kidnapped and threatened by the Belarus KGB in 2011 and was given political asylum in France after facing persecutions in her native Ukraine.

Esther Hutfless is philosopher and psychoanalyst in Vienna. She teaches at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna and the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy. Main teaching and research areas include: Deconstruction, Psychoanalysis, Feminist Philosophy, Ontology, Écriture féminine, Queer Theory. Currently she is working on her habilitation project on »Psychoanalysis to Come«.

Elisabeth Schäfer lives and works as philosopher in Vienna. She teaches as external lecturer at the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Vienna since 2010. Her research interests include: deconstruction, body discourse, queer feminist philosophy and Écriture feminine. In 2013, together with Esther Hutfless and Gertrude Postl, she published the first German translation of Hélène Cixous‘s famous essay »Le Rire de la Méduse«.

Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Research, Roski School of Art & Design, USC, and is a curator and scholar of contemporary art, performance, and feminist/sexuality studies. Jones is currently working on a retrospective of the work of Ron Athey and a book tentatively entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance.


2. Politics of the Temporary

The rhythm of the Biennales and the exhibitions’ limited duration are directly related to a politics of the temporary. However, the exhibitions’ questions and themes inevitably go beyond the time limits of the (temporary) presentation. What boundaries delineate the periods of exhibitions in relation to the concepts of time that are expressed in the artistic works and practices? How heterogeneous and heterochronic are their temporalstes?

31. Januar 2019, 18.30 Uhr
Atelierhaus der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Lehargasse 8, Gate 1, 1060 Vienna

Maria Hlavajova »How to Biennial in This Time of Struggle«
Dana Whabira »Anything can vanish but time: some thoughts on the contingency of temporality in artistic practice«
Ute Meta Bauer »Shifting Gravity - on the Role of Biennales in Asia«

Welcome: Vice Rector Andrea B. Braidt
Moderation: Felicitas Thun-Hohestein, Andreas Spiegl
Artistic Intervention: Jakob Lena Knebl

Maria Hlavajova is the founder of BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, in Utrecht since 2000, and artistic director of FORMER WEST (2008–2016), which she initiated and developed as an internationally collaborative research, education, publication, and exhibition project. She is a founding director of tranzit, a network of autonomous initiatives in contemporary art in Austria, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

Dana Whabira is an artist, architect and curator. She lives and works in Harare (Zimbabwe) where she founded Njelele Art Station, an urban laboratory that focuses on contemporary arts and art in public space. She represented Zimbabwe at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017) and participated at the Dak’Art Biennale (2018).

Ute Meta Bauer is a curator of contemporary arts with a focus on transdisciplinary formats. Since October 2013 she serves as founding director of the CCA – Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore — a research center of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where she is professor at NTU’s School of Art, Media and Design



1. Art and the Artificial Boundaries of National Concepts of Culture

The exhibition pavilions of individual nations convey both the international positioning of the Biennale and the segmentation into national representations of art. The current return of nationalistic cultural policies once again calls attention to the history of the kinds of national differentiation that have become historically manifest in the Biennale’s installment of national pavilions. How and where are the lines drawn between contemporary concepts of art and the ideas of national cultures? What distinguishes universalist or cosmopolitan perspectives from “inter-national” ones or democratic concepts of culture from the construction of national cultures?

22. November 2018, 18.30—22.00 Uhr
(Pause mit Imbiss)
Planetarium Vienna
Oswald-Thomas-Platz 1, 1020 Vienna

Beatriz Colomina »Pavilion Fever«
Ruth Wodak »Wir und die Anderen: Zur Konstruktion nationaler Identitäten«
Catherine David »TBA«

Moderation: Andreas Spiegl
Artistic Intervention: Jakob Lena Knebl

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