4th BUCHAREST BIENNALE 2010
21 May - 20 June 2010
curated by FELIX VOGEL
In July 2008 the 4th Bucharest Biennale (Bucharest International Biennial for Contemporary Art), generated by Pavilion, magazine for art & culture, announced the curatorship of Felix Vogel (born 1987, living and working in Germany). The co-directors of BB4 are Răzvan Ion and Eugen Rădescu.
Felix Vogel about his curatorial plans and fashion as an aesthetic field
Question: Your research and curatorial practice is focused on the relations between aesthetics and the social sphere. What are your curatorial plans for the 4th Bucharest Biennale?
fig.: Portrait Felix Vogel; photographed by Felix Grünschloß
Felix Vogel: With the concept of the biennale I'm trying to examine the ambiguity of the German term "Handlung" - that is impossible to translate in all its levels of meaning, but it is somehow located between action, activity, agency and participation, but at the same time it could also mean story or even narration – because I think it can be made productive in many different ways. With this I want to critically question how art is producing action or even agency as well as concentrating on the distinction and the threshold of action and narration. I am working with the hypothesis that the whole public sphere is structured through different kinds of actions. In my research I am concentrating on particular actions and how their normal way of functioning is being organized, changed and interrupted through aesthetical manifestations. I believe it is more interesting, if you have a closer look at the connections and the processes taking place between actor, action and outcome than to examine already concluded outcomes.
Question: You describe your work focused on the relations between aesthetics and the social sphere. Do you think that fashion is an aesthetic field where a designer/artist can “handeln” in the meaning of “being active” or/and where “Handlung” in the meaning of “narration, story telling” can be transported?
Felix Vogel: I think that fashion is like all other aesthetical manifestations situated in the public sphere and they are part of what we can call - after French philosopher Jacques Rancière - the 'distribution of the sensible'. I am also aware that fashion plays significantly a special role, since it is one of the main producers of cultural, ethnic, social and gender representation as well as it constructs identity and self expression - not to mention its importance for the global trade market and the processes of production and fetishism of commodity. I do think that designers are able to take actions with their work and there are many artists, who have been intervening in the daily routine of representation with their artworks by using practises of design and fashion.
Question: One of your special interests is gender. Has “fashion” the possibility to take over an active role in defining gender or has fashion the passive role to mirror our social sphere?
Felix Vogel: I was talking about the capacity of fashion as a producer of identities and self expression earlier and I think that fashion plays one of the major roles in the construction of gender. Fashion is based on a long tradition, in which clothing was produced that was not necessarily related to the body, but it was also meant to identify the body as male or female. Unfortunately, we are still thinking in the categories of male and female and thus today's fashion is still based on this history. This would be the passive role in mirroring the society. But fashion has also the very potential to intervene into this order and to establish new and other identities. We could call this - without refereeing too much to feminist theorist Judith Butler - as 'gender trouble'. Consequently, I see - and there are lots of designers, who are playing successful with these categories - an active role of fashion to define gender and to critically question its tradition as well as the construction of gender.
Question: Who is your favourite designer at this time and why?
Felix Vogel: If we are only talking about fashion design I would - personally - name Raf Simons. I think he has an understanding of fashion that is very close to architecture. Although, his collections are highly reduced, very square-edged and stiff, Raf Simons is aware of the communicative function of fashion as well as its integration and disintegration into the order of our surrounding forms and shapes. For design in general, there are many young people who are trying to interact, highlight and to improve structures of our daily experience. I am very interested in these designers that are aware of the political meaning and necessity of design and their power to structure complex and important processes.
Check out bucharestbiennale.org, pavilionmagazine.org