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The 12th Berlin Biennale Decolonises Art Through Its Identity

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The 12th Berlin Biennale Decolonises Art Through Its Identity

by Wishu
14 December 2021

“How can the decolonisation of art be conceived – from the restitution of plundered goods to an anti-colonial culture of memory? What role can non-Western feminist movements play in the re-appropriation of history and identity? How are the climate crisis and colonialism related, and how can resource extraction be resisted and native knowledge acknowledged to preserve ecosystems?”

These are some of the questions that the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art aims to unpack. The Biennale, curated by French visual artist Kader Attia, will be held in several venues across the German capital next September. 

Graphic designers Martin Wecke and Fabian Maier-Bode created the identity for the 2022 Biennale and really wanted to stress the importance of the topic and the urgent need for promoting discussion.“From the beginning we felt that the visual concept needed to be abstract and open enough to create a space for discourse, while at the same time being bold and highly visible in the noisy cityscape,” said Fabian. “The brief to create the visual identity also presented a number of challenges: It had to tie together a programme spread across four months and a variety of venues.”

The result is a flexible system of graphical “fragments”, designed so that they are intentionally ambiguous and open to interpretation. These abstract shapes form the backbone of the identity and sit alongside a broad and versatile colour palette and minimal typography that complements the overall aesthetic without distracting from it. “Though they can be read as sculptures, maps or glyphs, [the graphical shapes] remain hard to decipher and blur the lines between the inside and outside, the known and unknown.” Explains Martin “This ‘visual discomfort’ was important to us to connect with the idea of ‘unlearning’ presented in the curatorial concept. The shapes are supposed to feel like they were not created by a single actor but instead by a process of cutting, adding, stretching and layering.” 

AI and tech also play a role in the movement of the designs. On the recently launched holding page for the biennale, the fragments take on a life of their own as they react to the movement of the user’s mouse and the orientation of their device, warping and shapeshifting in a way that “gives up some control” and “lets users create unexpected visual moments” that Martin and Fabian say they would have been unable to come up with themselves. “These interactive animations also inspired us to translate the movements (with the help of Studio Feix) into the third dimension, which we will explore further while the programme unfolds during the next months,” says Fabian.

The 12th Berlin Biennale will be open between 11 June 2022 – 18 September 2022.

www.12.berlinbiennale.de/

www.fabianmaierbode.de



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