Biennale Gherdëina 9

The Parliament of Marmots
31.05 — 01.09.2024

Link to the event 

Artists : 

Talar Aghbassian (1981), Atelier dell’Errore (2002), Alex Ayed (1989), Nassim Azarzar (1989), Ismaïl Bahri (1978), Yesmine Ben Khelil (1986), Ruth Beraha (1986), Chiara Bersani (1984), Alessandro Biggio (1974), Julius von Bismarck (1983), Nadim Choufi (1994), Elmas Deniz (1981), Esraa Elfeki (1989), Andro Eradze (1993), Marianne Fahmy (1992), Valentina Furian (1989), Daniele Genadry (1980), Eva Giolo (1991), Shuruq Harb (1980), Arnold Holzknecht (1960), Michael Höpfner (1973), Ingela Ihrman (1985), Nadia Kaabi-Linke (1978), Katia Kameli (1973), Laurent Le Deunff (1977), Linda Jasmin Mayer (1986), Femmy Otten (1981), Sara Ouhaddou (1986), Eva Papamargariti (1987), Diana Policarpo (1986), Lin May Saeed (1973-2023), Helle Siljeholm (1981), Tobias Tavella (1990), Markus Vallazza (1936-2019), Karin Welponer (1941).

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The 9th edition of Biennale Gherdëina, curated by Lorenzo Giusti with Marta Papini as associate curator, borrows its title from one of the most enchanting Ladin myths of the Dolomites, which tells the story of the Fanes: a meek and peaceful people whose kingdom extended beyond the seven mountains to the edge of the world. The secret of their prosperity lay in their alliance with the marmots that inhabited the plateau of the same name. When the alliance was broken because of a princess who was ashamed of the pact with the animals, the Fanes met with misfortunes and conflicts that inevitably led to the downfall of their kingdom.

The origin of these archaic Ladin myths, which have survived the oral tradition and the strains of modern rewrites, dates back to proto-history, to the time of the transition from hunting to animal breeding and agriculture. Their function was to describe the complex relationship of these communities with the theme of the ‘soul’ – the soul of nature, of the world – whose presence permeates all beings, all the main ‘entities’ of wild nature.

These archaic myths, which share certain key figures with Mediterranean culture, do not speak of creation (of human beings or empires) but of transformation, celebrating nature, the cycle of life and the intimate and profound relationship between all species. In this perspective, the mountains and the Dolomites – remnants of gigantic coral reefs that surfaced 250 million years ago – transform from being a barrier to a crossing point and thus a point of encounter and contamination.

And it is precisely of contamination that this ninth edition of the Biennale Gherdëina aims to speak, superimposing new contemporary stories onto ancient legends, embracing a widespread geographical territory. Through various formats – new productions, performances, solo and group exhibitions, collaborations with regional institutions and with workshops open to the public – the event will gather the contributions of artists from various parts of continental Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, bringing together a multicultural community in Val Gardena.