Limerick, Ireland

Curating in a Time of Ecological Crisis: Biennales as Agents of Change

We’re delighted that the 39th EVA International has been included in Curating in a Time of Ecological Crisis Biennales as Agents of Change, written by Felicity Fenner and published by Routledge. It features a case study of the 39th EVA International through projects by Michele Horrigan Stigma Damages (2011- ongoing) and Bora Baboci Predictions (2020), that were both presented during the Phase 1 programme.

Curating in a Time of Ecological Crisis reaffirms the relevance and impactful role of art, revealing how contemporary art exhibitions can capture the zeitgeist and advance new and collaborative approaches to a more sustainable inhabitation of Earth. The book is largely focused on biennales, which it argues are the contemporary exhibition models with the greatest capacity to offer new perspectives and propose alternative ways of connecting with our social and natural environments. Felicity Fenner demonstrates this by showing how curators of these high-profile exhibitions are responding in creative and engaging ways to the issues that preoccupy artists and society more broadly, of which the ecological crisis is paramount.

Drawing on case studies from different parts of the world, the author reveals how biennales can make a constructive contribution to debates and attitudes around climate change, and how the role of the curator has evolved to re-embrace a duty of care not just to art but to the natural world as well. Curating in a Time of Ecological Crisis investigates how large-scale exhibitions of contemporary international art can become agents of change. As such, the book will be essential reading for scholars, students, and practitioners with an interest in exhibitions, curating, contemporary art, and environmental sustainability.

Felicity Fenner is a curator based at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, where she leads postgraduate programs in curatorial and biennale studies. She is Chair of the City of Sydney’s Public Art Advisory Panel and for over two decades has curated many exhibitions of international contemporary art, including for Australia at the Venice Biennale and for the Perth Festival. Her current research into the placemaking function of public art expands on the findings of her last book Running the City: Why Public Art Matters (2017).

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