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March 2012 Issue 8

The biennale is the most widespread form of large-scale exhibition in the world today. It has already left the museum behind as the primary venue where an expanding global public can access the current manifestations and debates in contemporary art. Depending on which body of research you consult, there are between 200 and 250 biennales in existence, in varying states of animation and realised at different levels of scale and intensity. But certainly, the number is growing, and while the traditional centres of biennale activity are situated in West Europe, most of the new biennales are located in the global South, in Asia, Africa and Latin America; and in the former Cold-War frontline states of East Europe and the Soviet Union’s successor states.

The biennale has come to be seen as a site for alternative proposals within contemporary art. Often, it identifies itself with the margins, reading them as potent spaces that do not inhabit remote geographies but exist everywhere. Consciously removing itself from the homogenizing tendencies towards a ‘global’ contemporary art – as shaped by the market, art fairs, museums and auction houses – the biennale can be a site of resistance and retains the potential to be global as well as local. This special issue of TAKE dedicated to the biennale as a form, seemed a necessary and important intervention, especially for Indian viewers and readers, who have been overdosed with the controversial rather than the constructive aspects of the biennale phenomenon.

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TAKE Biennale: Editor’s Note

The Shapeshifting Trajectory of the Biennale

‘Worlding’ Art: The Havana Biennale

Translation, Treason, Transfiguration: The Biennale as an Agent of Political Consciousness

TAKE Biennale Roundtable - Curating Biennale

Specific to Site: An Artist Among the Biennales

Reference Point

Calder’s Model Universe

The Cherry and The Spoon and The Cherry and The Spoon - Ode to Claes Oldenburg

Cults of Serendipity

Confessions of an Evil Orientalist

She Asks Not If We Can See Her

Dawn Upon Delhi

Slipping Through the Cracks

German Returned



Reading Sathyanand Mohan’s ‘Mirage’


… and Undated Nightskin

A World of His Own

Butterflies in a Hall of Mirrors

Of an Eternal March

Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter

The Hot Winds that Blow from the West

Whenever the Heart Skips a Beat (excerpt)

Fly on the Wall #7

Dhaka Art Summit

Art Dubai - Flavours of the Middle East

The Land Beyond the End

Rise of the Equator - There is No Border Here

Up Close and Critical - A Detailed Look at the India Art Fair

Looking at Extension Khirkee

A Biennale Between War and Reconciliation

Exquisite Cadaver or Corpse - K.K. Raghava

In Conversation with Grant Watson

India Moderna/ Delhi Modern

Visiting Homai Vyarawalla

Shaheen Merali