“The Dreamers” October Salon / Belgrade Biennale

August 11, 2021

Founded by the city of Belgrade in 1960, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, the October Salon | Belgrade Biennale is one of the most important cultural events in the Balkan area.

Its 58th edition opens to the public from June 25, 2021 to August 22, 2021, after several changes of date, because of the global health emergency.

Involving 64 artists, the Biennale – called THE DREAMERS and curated by Italian curators Ilaria Marotta and Andrea Baccin, founders of CURA. – explores the space of dream as a metaphorical space of freedom, capable of re-reading categories, rules and roles, and the most established certainties. Through the gaze of dreamers, the exhibition features the complexity of our world and “the ability to create Worlds – now more than ever – and not only to inherit and live within existing ones.” (Ian Cheng)

“In a shifting of plans, times and spaces” – the curators write – “THE DREAMERS embodies the presence of different worlds which, like dreams, progress by free association and fragmentarily, in a whirlwind of images and references between dreamed dimension, imagination, dream projection, virtual sphere and existing reality.”

By tracing the fundamental role of dreams in defining the most authentic spirit of the human being in every age and culture, the exhibition defines the dream world as a timeless and universal space, capable of overcoming political, cultural, language gender, religion, and expression barriers.

The largest part of the exhibition – which includes 160 works, 70 new productions, public interventions and site-specific projects – is hosted at the former military building of the Belgrade City Museum, in the surrounding park of the Museum of Yugoslavia with a Sculpture Garden, complemented by the galleries of the Cultural Centre of Belgrade – a place strongly connected to the cultural life of the city – and the Movie Theatre with a Film Program.

Radio Belgrade Channel 2 is the platform for a radio drama directed by Than Hussein Clark and a work by Alex Da Corte will be broadcast once day, on TV RTS 3 Culture and Art Program, during the exhibition.

THE DREAMERS also includes a program of artists’ talks and performances and site-specific public interventions, among whom Cyprien Gaillard’s permanent installation, which the artist donated to the city.

THE DREAMERS is augmented by The Dreamers Library’s section, an ongoing archive of books selected by the artists, and a few new editorial productions created specifically for the event; moreover, a bookshop curated by Alexis Zavialoff, founder of Motto Distribution, presents a selection of magazines, artists’ books, essays and catalogs. While, to celebrate Belgrade’s vibrant underground club scene, The Dreamers LP limited edition will be produced with the Club Drugstore, in collaboration with local producers connected to the club’s life.

The exhibition catalog, published in a Serbian and English double edition by the Cultural Centre of Belgrade together with CURA.BOOKS, includes texts by Ilaria Marotta and Andrea Baccin and contributions by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Mahfuz Sultan, Melanie Chan, Giulia Bini, Ben Vickers, Anthony Huberman, Tarek Elhaik, Matthew Spellberg, Emanuele Coccia, Vladimir Kulić, Sanja Bojanić, Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen and Saša Ilić, in addition to a written contribution by Ian Cheng.

The catalog is supplemented by a large iconographic atlas of works introduced by texts written by Costanza Paissan and by an original section dedicated to artist dreams, inspired by the book Sogni/Dreams published by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Francesco Bonami in 1999, which collects unpublished textual and visual contributions and a rich collection of book and movie references by the artists.

The graphic identity, redesigned for this renewed edition of the Biennale, was designed by CURA. together with Giandomenico Carpentieri, while the editorial project was entrusted to Dan Solbach; a production of objects in limited-edition was created together with König Souvenir; while the settings were overseen by Massimo Adario’s Rome studio.

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