The fifth edition of Kyiv Biennial will be international and will take place in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhhorod, Vienna,
Warsaw and Berlin.
In view of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, a comprehensive biennial project in Kyiv long seemed deeply uncertain,
if not impossible. But, with a cascade of openings – starting in Kyiv and Vienna in October 2023, finishing in Berlin in
2024 – the fifth Kyiv Biennial will take place. This Biennial edition is conceived as a European event, with dispersed
exhibitions and public programs in a number of Ukrainian and EU cities, and realized in partnership with leading
European institutions in the field of contemporary art.
Instead of abandoning the project and thus submitting to the logic of war that attacks everything civil, the 2023
Biennial draws upon its founding idea: that of being a multi-centric initiative in a European, interconnected and
solidary form. Art institutions in Ukraine (in Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhhorod) organize presentations and events in
their endangered yet working infrastructures. Despite the late start of planning due to the war, museums and exhibition
halls in Vienna (the main exhibition spot), Warsaw and Berlin, together with venues in other European cities, have freed
up their spaces and platforms for exhibitions and events with Ukrainian and international artists as well as for
discursive, performative and educational activities. Together, the institutions have formed a curatorial consortium to
jointly create a conceptual framework within which they develop their respective Kyiv Biennial programs.
How can a country at war address political, social, cultural and societal issues? Today, the experience of artists and
cultural workers in Ukraine is profoundly marked by war trauma, displacement, lack of access to basic resources and, in
many cases, direct involvement in armed resistance or the experience of life under military occupation. This poses
existential challenges for the future of art and cultural production in Ukraine. The upcoming Biennial aims at
reintegrating the Ukrainian artistic community, divided and scattered throughout Europe by the war, in order to empower
its actors to work and reflect collectively and together with international colleagues on cultural, social and
environmental challenges Ukraine is currently facing and to imagine scenarios for an emancipatory future within a global
The Kyiv Biennial strategy, developed in the course of its four previous editions, merges artistic production, critical
knowledge and social engagement in the times of emergency, where curatorship goes far beyond its contemporary meaning of
an artistic and organizational practice and becomes resignified with its original sense of restoration, rehabilitation
and relief, thus suggesting not a biennial, but a perennial long-run international project, a “Kyiv Perennial.”
Kyiv Biennial 2023 is conceived and organized by the Visual Culture Research Center (Kyiv) together with tranzit.at
(Vienna), tranzit.org (Bratislava, Budapest, Bucharest, Cluj, Iași, Prague and Vienna), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw,
Museum Crisis Center (Lviv), Other Edges, Dovzhenko Centre (Kyiv), Asortymentna Kimnata (Ivano-Frankivsk) and Sorry, No
Rooms Available (Uzhhorod).