Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten is pleased to announce that Aude Christel Mgba and Bruno Alves de Almeida have been selected as Artistic Directors for Luleåbiennalen 2024 with the overarching theme of architecture and art.
Mgba and Alves de Almeida have collaborated since 2018 when they took part in the De Appel Curatorial Programme 2018-19 in Amsterdam. They share a profound interest and experience in working beyond the exhibition space and in diverse public spaces.
The review panel considered the duo as curators who will bring new perspectives to questions that are currently shaping the region. Furthermore, their previous projects demonstrated innovative ways of approaching the site-specific and transdisciplinary, while connecting the local with the global. Both have developed projects engaging wide audiences in different contexts and cultures spanning the Netherlands, Brazil, Cameroon, and others.
Mgba and Alves de Almeida will be the first Artistic Directors in the biennial history based outside of Sweden.
– We are extremely honored with our appointment as Artistic Directors of Luleåbiennalen 2024. We feel this is an opportune context for bringing together our curatorial practices which have experimented in bridging institutions and the public space, in contexts such as São Paulo, Brazil, Douala, Cameroon, and the Netherlands. We are deeply drawn to the region of Norrbotten as a territory facing a multilayered process of change. While Kiruna’s iron erects robust buildings worldwide, the melting glacial ice raises sea levels washing the solid ground from beneath the feet of populations globally. Volatile built and natural environments urgently call for alternative socio-spatial relationships, from local to global. Crossing-over art, architecture and the region’s situated and ancestral knowledges, we imagine Luleåbiennalen 2024 as a test-bed for such alternatives emerging from transient grounds, say Aude Christel Mgba and Bruno Alves de Almeida, Artistic Directors of Luleåbiennalen 2024.
Luleåbiennalen 2024, with the overarching theme architecture and art, takes place between March 2–May 26 2024 and will thereby span over the period when the most dramatic shift in the North Bothnian landscape occurs – going from covered in ice and snow to bare ground. The conditions have been explored in earlier editions of the biennial by alternating between summer and winter exhibition periods, but never in a single biennial. The shift seems particularly important for a biennial that deals with the relationship between architecture and contemporary art, highlighting related aspects of social life in both the public sphere and the home.
Based on a total of 43 applications, the jury selected Aude Christel Mgba and Bruno Alves de Almeida to invite new perspectives on the issues currently shaping the region. Mgba and Alves de Almeida have produced projects that engaged audiences in different contexts and cultures. Their previous projects demonstrated innovative ways of approaching the site-specific and transdisciplinary, while connecting the local with the global.
– I look forward to following the work of the artistic directors with the next edition of Luleåbiennalen, which will offer several new approaches. In 2024, in addition to including architecture in the broadest sense, the biennial will also extend into public spaces and take place during a new part of the year. A major international contemporary art effort such as the Luleåbiennalen becomes a resource that is important for both audiences and contributors in the region, says Maria Ragnestam, Director of Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten.
The review panel who evaluated the applications to the open call for Artistic Director for Luleåbiennalen 2024 consisted of:
Kieran Long, director ArkDes
Bella Rune, artist
Katya García-Antón, director Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum
Thomas Hämén, artist
Maria Ragnestam, director Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten
Aude Christel Mgba (b.1991, Cameroon) is an independent curator and art historian based between Cameroon and the Netherlands.
Mgba engages with decoloniality through research projects and the creation of platforms that aim to transcribe, translate, and embody ancestral knowledge. Her curatorial experiences include collaborations that question forms of making and showing art that tends to be centered between art institutions and art workers. She is more interested in collaboration that expands beyond those spaces to embrace different communities.
In 2017, Mgba worked as an assistant curator for the SUD2017, an international triennial of art in the public space, organized by doual’art, a center for contemporary art, for the city of Douala. Since 2019, she has been working as the co-curator of sonsbeek20->24, an international exhibition in the city of Arnhem under the artistic direction of Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. In 2010-2021, Mgba conducted My learning is affected by the conditions of my life, a research symposium commissioned by ARTEZ Studium Generale, that was looking into art education from a historical perspective, taking West Africa before and after colonization as case studies. Mgba was the curator of the 2021 project of ART X LAGOS.
Bruno Alves de Almeida (b.1987, Brazil/ Portugal) is a curator and architect based in the Netherlands, currently the curator of the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, and tutor of the Design Academy Eindhoven.
His practice is rooted in transdisciplinary thinking and site/context-specificity, resulting in projects responding to timely issues and going beyond customary formats and spaces for the presentation, production and experience of artistic practice.
In São Paulo, Brazil, Bruno spearheaded exhibitions and site-specific public commissions responding to key urban contexts and fostering crossovers between art, architecture and urban theory. Through commissions to emerging and established artists, architects and other spatial practitioners, these projects dissolved boundaries between exhibition spaces and the public realm, reached diverse audiences, and broadened the discussion on pressing socio-political and urban issues.
In the Netherlands, Bruno has worked closely with a multidisciplinary group of artists, designers, architects, curators, at the Jan van Eyck Academie and Design Academy Eindhoven. His projects have explored the agency of artistic practices in face of socio-ecological breakdown, and fostered crossovers between the arts, design, the social and natural sciences, bridging towards institutions and policymakers beyond cultural spheres.
Luleåbiennalen, or the Luleå Biennial, is one of the oldest biennials in Scandinavia and was held for the first time in 1991. After being dormant from 2013 until 2018, Konstfrämjandet (The People's Movement for Art Promotion) took over its operation. Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten’s ambition is to create a biennial that emphasizes long-term sustainability by sparking engagement and encouraging creative participation. The biennial invites locally and internationally based practitioners from a wide range of artistic fields and expressions to form an assembly point in North Bothnia.
Visit www.luleabiennalen.se for a look at last year´s biennial.
Visit www.norrbotten.konstframjandet.se for more information about Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten.
The Artistic Directors will participate in a press conference at Luleå Art Center, Luleå, Sweden, on March 23rd, 1:00pm (GMT+1) .
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Konstfrämjandet, People's Movements for Art Promotion, works toward the mission "art for everyone". We see art as a way of rethinking society and ourselves. Together with artists, participants and our member organizations, we provide different perspectives on the time in which we live. We produce and distribute art throughout Sweden, through new artworks, exhibitions, books, and meetings. Konstfrämjandet can be found around the country and through our various member organizations and districts. The divergent districts are united in a strong artistic and social interest. Our members are various social movements, such as educational associations and worker’s unions, and other popular movements. We are convinced of the importance of art and education, and we want everyone to have access to art in an egalitarian society.