The twin takeover

Published Monday, 14 October 2019

Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art takes over Coventry and Warwickshire for 52 days.

Biennial of Contemporary Art

The second Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art is running across Coventry until the 24th November 2019. Billed as the social Biennial, organisers invite people to “learn, look, make, talk, think and walk with us” with a series of exhibitions, workshops, talks, screenings and supper clubs over the 52 days. Titled ‘The Twin’, this year’s Biennial is made up of work focused on relationships and draws upon Coventry’s heritage as a pioneering and internationally twinned city.

The core programme of The Twin, curated by Ryan Hughes will take visitors on a tour of 21 venues, including Coventry’s medieval and modernist buildings. St. Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry Cathedral, The Weaver’s House and - in collaboration with Coventry Artspace - an ex-NHS building all have a role to play this year. Visitors will also have the chance to explore artists’ studios, galleries and museums, such as The Herbert Art Gallery, Arcadia Gallery, The Pod Cafe and Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum.

With over 100 artists and groups exhibiting in The Twin, the show explores themes and ideas inspired by the ‘international city’ including translation, collaboration and togetherness while also exploring some of the difficulties presented by globalisation, political inequality and conflict.

The exhibitions feature a variety of work including woven photographs, installations made of loom bands, photographic work, dinosaur sculptures, a series of floor tiles and a collaboration with a city centre based agency addressing rough sleeping. The exhibitions are also supported by family workshops, artist-led-yoga, film screenings and artist talks, of which many are either free to attend or operate on a pay what you can policy.

The broad range of core exhibitions and sister projects have been produced in close collaboration with local, national and international partners including Artangel, New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum.

Ryan Hughes, Artistic Director of Coventry Biennial explains: “Coventry has been an international, welcoming and activist city for decades. We are thrilled to be working with artists, our twin cities and a wide variety of partners on our core programme and sister projects to explore what it means to be together in 2019.”

“Embedded in Coventry Biennial 2019 are opportunities to speak to or eat with the artists, to learn a new skill, to warm yourself by a fire at a ceilidh, to dance through the night in a local brewery or to ease yourself into the day with a yoga session.”

Cllr Tariq Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing & Communities, said: “When we set out the cultural strategy, one of our key aims was to develop and support talent across the city.  We also aim to empower communities and individuals to celebrate and share their cultures, and to participate in the cultural life of the city in order to diversity our offer. 

“The Biennial is a great opportunity for us to showcase our talent and to promote the city as an open and inclusive place with a strong international outlook.  I welcome its innovative approach and look forward to seeing as much of the programme as possible.”

The Culture and Arts strategy is a plan to ensure that by 2027 Coventry will be a culturally attractive, vibrant and prosperous city.  

The 2019 Coventry Biennial runs from 4th October until 24th November 2019. With the next biennial due to return for Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021. Find out more.

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