23 July — 28 July 2012
Artists from the Eastern region were invited to apply to take part in a research trip to Belgium and Germany for the opening of Manifesta 9, a visit to FLACC, and the opening of Documenta 13.
Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is a roving, contemporary art event, showcasing the most innovative work by artists and curators from Europe and beyond. Manifesta 9 took place at the site of the former Waterschei coal mine in Genk, Limburg, Belgium. Taking into consideration the significance of the former Belgian coal mining region as a locus for discussing both the geographical and imaginary aspects of industrial capitalism as a global phenomenon, Manifesta 9 developed as a dialogue between art, history and social reflection.
FLACC is a workplace for visual artists, also in Genk, Belgium. Each year, a maximum of eight international artists are invited to develop a new project using FLACC's extensive facilities and curatorial support. FLACC collaborates extensively with other organisations in Belgium and abroad, including the Frans Masereel Centre (Kasterlee) and the Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht). In June 2012, FLACC and the Wyspa Institute of Art in Gdansk worked together as partners for A Subjective Bus Line,, a project by visual artist Grzegorz Klaman, which ran during Manifesta 9
In 1955, Documenta was held in Kassel, Germany for the first time. Since then, it has come to define a key periodic moment when, at five-year intervals, contemporary art is generated, exhibited, and explored. In contrast to other periodic international exhibitions that have emerged from the world fair models of the nineteenth century, a strong theoretical grounding and a sense of urgency in relation to the question of art’s place in society have characterised Documenta. Documenta 13 opened in June 2012, with more than 160 artists and participants showcasing new artworks in multiple venues across the city of Kassel, under the artistic direction of Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev.
Artists who came on the seven day research trip were Liz Ballard, Simon Newby, Joseph Murray, Rob Smith alongside writer Jonathan Watts. The group joined a regional delegation of directors and curators from the Contemporary Visual Arts Network, also organised by Wysing.