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Biennials are exhibitions, festivals or shows that take place every two years . The term is derived from the biennium , a term for a period of two years. In contrast, triennials take place every three years and quadriennials every four years.

Venice Biennale

The original Biennale was the idea of ​​a Mayor of Venice , who had organized a world exhibition of fine arts every two years under the title La Biennale di Venezia since 1895 . For this world show, country pavilions were built in a garden area to this day.

For some years now, the shipyards with their halls from the 16th century have also been used as exhibition space, which are normally restricted military areas. As the number of participating nations also increased, their exhibition venues are spread across the city through churches, palazzi and embassies.

Over time, the spectrum expanded and is now complemented by an architecture biennale and the annual Venice Film Festival , at which the Golden Lion is awarded.

São Paulo Biennial

The São Paulo Biennial has been the second largest and second oldest art biennial in the world since 1951. It takes place in the Cicillo Matarazzo pavilion designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Parque do Ibirapuera in São Paulo , Brazil .

Paris Biennale

In 1958, inspired by the international biennials in São Paulo and Venice, Raymond Cogniat , then the commissioner of the French pavilion at the Venice Biennale, suggested to André Malraux , Minister of Information and later Minister of State for Cultural Affairs , that an exhibition should also be organized in Paris . The aim was to present a panorama of the young international art scene. The Paris Biennale was actually launched in 1959 and, despite a few interruptions, has been revived again and again. In October 2006 the XV. Biennale De Paris took place, in which almost 100 projects from more than 20 countries took part.

Other well-known biennials

  • Manifesta , European Biennale of Contemporary Art, at changing locations


Web links

Commons : Art Biennials  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Biennale  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  2. Susanne Boecker: Biennials - the central place for the understanding of works of art. In: Kunstforum International. Vol. 207, March – April 2011, pp. 382–385. (Review of: The Biennial Reader. 2010)