Pool 9: Excursion Bucharest (27 May–3 June 2020) 

The Bucharest Biennale focuses on exploring links between creative practice and social progress. In its tenth year, the Biennale builds a strong connection between Bucharest—a geo-cultural space where the political is reflected in all aspects of life—to Europe and beyond. In transcending specific geographical, historical, or political frameworks, it connects to a broader complexity, namely the one of “resistance” within the realm of the everyday. It intends to make visible the power structures supporting spheres of control, addressing the ways in which they are organized and coordinated, as well as implemented across broad segments of society. The Biennale is an attempt to turn these scripted “experiences” upside down, to re-think and re-imagine processes of domination, while positioning the city of Bucharest as a field of culture, action, and exchange.

For the 9th Bucharest Biennale (28 May–4 July 2020), curator Henk Slager wants to evaluate the “dominance” of research and its related trends of thought in the contemporary art world. To this end he will—in collaboration with various research centres—develop a constructive contribution to the re-thinking of current artistic research discourse. Consideration will moreover be given to finding alternative or more contemporary forms of presentation. In relation to this, attention will be paid to the role and significance of biennials as platforms for the production and circulation of ideas.


Die Bukarest-Biennale fokussiert sich auf das Erforschen der Schnittstellen zwischen kreativer Praxis und sozialer Entwicklung und macht die Stadt Bukarest dadurch, dass sie das Politische in seinen verschiedenen Aspekten geokulturell reflektiert, zum neunten Mal zum Dreh-, und Angelpunkt zwischen Bukarest, Europa und darüber hinaus. Durch das Überschreiten geographischer, historischer oder politischer Rahmenbedingungen, verweist sie auf eine Komplexität darüber hinaus: die des sogenannten «Widerstands» im Alltäglichen. Es wird versucht, auf Machtgefüge bzw. deren koalierende Verbindung mit Strukturen der Kontrolle zu verweisen und somit die tiefe Verwurzelung derer in grossen Teilen der Gesellschaft sichtbar zu machen. Durch den Versuch der Umkehr bestehender Ordnungen, besteht das Ziel darin, ein Umdenken vorherrschender Dominanz-, und Machtgefüge anzustossen, während die Stadt Bukarest ortsspezifisch zum Zentrum von Kultur, Aktion und Austausch wird.

Für die neunte Bukarest-Biennale, die vom 28. Mai bis am 4. Juli 2020 stattfinden wird, versucht der Kurator Henk Slager die «Dominanz» der Forschung und seine benachbarten Felder in der zeitgenössischen Kunst zu hinterfragen. In Kollaboration mit verschiedenen Forschungszentren steht eine Reevaluierung der sogenannten Artistic Practice, der künstlerische Forschung, im Zentrum, sowie der Versuch, alternative oder zeitgenössischere Formen der Repräsentation von Kunst(werken) zu finden und macht grundsätzliche Strukturen von Biennalen und deren Möglichkeiten als Plattform zur Vernetzung zum Thema.

About the teachers:

Nina Kerschbaumer (*Salzburg) is a filmmaker and researcher. She is interested in fact and fiction narratives and the deconstruction of common storytelling methods. In her artistic work, she explores how the supposed distinction of private and public space and its visual representation affect concrete social and political decisions. As a doctoral candidate, her research is directly linked to her practice as a video artist, centred on mobile phone photography in social media, its production methods and implications, and reconsideration of the term “documentary”. She studied Film at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna and at Central Saint Martin's College in London. Her work has been shown at international film festivals and within the field of fine arts. She has worked as a camera operator in film and television and is currently a teaching associate in the ZHdK MFA program.

Marie-France Rafael, born in Munich in 1984, holds a PhD in Art History. She studied Art History and Film Studies in Berlin and Paris. From 2011 to 2015 she was a research associate at the Free University of Berlin and until 2019 at the Muthesius University Kiel, Department of Spatial Strategies/Curatorial Spaces. Her monograph, Reisen ins Imaginativ. Künstlerische Displays und Situationen (Cologne: Walther König, 2017), was recently published. Other publications include Ari Benjamin Meyers. Music on Display (Cologne: Walther König, 2016), and Pierre Huyghe. On Site (Cologne: Walther König, 2013).
Nummer und TypMFA-MFA-Po00.20F.009 / Moduldurchführung
VeranstalterDepartement Fine Arts
LeitungMarie-France Rafael, Nina Kerschbaumer
Anzahl Teilnehmendemaximal 6
ECTS3 Credits
VoraussetzungenCourse language: English (unless only German-speaking participants attend the course)
ZielgruppenMFA students
Lernziele / KompetenzenMain topics: artistic research, history and structure of a biennal, national/international logistics of art production and circulation, presentation of art, collateral programmes, awareness of references.

Stichwörter: Artistic Research (künstlerische Forschung), Geschichte und Struktur einer Biennale, nationale und internationale Logistik der Kunstproduktion, Präsentation, kollaterales Programm, Bewusstmachung wechselseitiger Verweise.
InhalteThe detailed programme will be available at a later date.

Das genaue Programm folgt.
Bibliographie / LiteraturA reader with selected literature on the topic will be available at a later date.

Ein Reader mit ausgewählter Literatur zum Thema wird zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt zur Verfügung gestellt.
Leistungsnachweis / Testatanforderung100% attendance
TermineExcursion: 27 May - 03 June
Bewertungsformbestanden / nicht bestanden
BemerkungConditions of participation

The MFA is organizing accommodation (double rooms in a hotel) and covering its costs: check-in is on Wednesday, the 27th of May, and check-out is on Wednesday, the 3rd of June. Transportation must be organized and paid for by the students.


The number of participants is limited (13 students total). Please send us a letter of motivation, as well as your portfolio. You are encouraged to reflect upon the following questions: Why do you want to participate in this study trip? What are your expectations? What could you present at the Biennale? Do you already have a question for Henk Slager? What would be your greatest wish for this experience?

Deadline to send your materials: 22 January 2020, 12 p.m. (noon). Please send it to:
Termine (1)