Solidarity Action #5 – The Draftsmen’s Congress

Come round and draw.

For the 7. Berlin Biennale, the curator Artur Żmijewski has created a political space in which to explore the effects of art in the society and the connections with today’s social and political situations.

In this setting, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma and other European art institutions that share this approach have been invited to activate “solidarity actions” in keeping with the theme of BB7, with the aim of making a network of organisms operating in different countries visible, in solidarity between them and with the Biennale.

From 4 June to 20 July, in the context of the Solidarity Action undertaken by Istituto Svizzero di Roma, the Draftsmen’s Congress will be presented. Started by Paweł Althamer at the church of St. Elisabeth in Berlin Mitte for the 7th Berlin Biennale, the Congress brings together artists and the public in a dialogue that uses the language of images instead of words. Everyone is invited to take part in the discussion, by painting, making drawings with charcoal, through collage or other traditional techniques and materials, and to freely respond to timely questions connected with politics, the symbols of power, religion, economic crisis and more.

Paweł Althamer encourages people to discuss things in a free, honest way. They can do so with good manners or political incorrectness, they can be frustrated or indignant, and they can intervene in the drawings of others, in a true encounter and clash of images. Images that love each other, hate each other, shared opinions or claims. All the participants are urged to bring forth the truth and to openly state their case.

The Draftsmen’s Congress will happen in Rome in the inner courtyard and exhibition space of Istituto Svizzero di Roma at Via Liguria 20, and at ESC – Atelier Autogestito – Via dei Volsci 159. Both places will be set up to create a calm, relaxing atmosphere, to promote exchange of ideas, but at the same time to trigger lively discussion. The walls and floors of the two locations – covered with white surfaces – will become the backdrop on which the participants can freely draw. Many artists, illustrators, architects, designers, street artists and other professionals have already accepted our invitation to participate in the Congress. Non-professional draftsmen are also invited. In this project the status of the author, the hierarchy determined by expertise and all types of qualification are challenged in the unfolding of a process that attempts to illustrate excess, which as such is free and open to all.

During the months of June and July workshops and concerts will be organized, as well as gatherings conceived to generate non-verbal relations and communication between different social and cultural groups with opposing or simply different interests, beliefs and viewpoints. The use of visual language is democratized in a collective conversation that only appears to be perceptible as an exhibition.

The launch of the Draftsmen’s Congress, on June 4 from 18.00 to midnight at Istituto Svizzero di Roma, and on June 5 at ESC, will involve over 100 Roman and Swiss artists, who will meet with the public and the artist Paweł Althamer.

The 7th Berlin Biennale takes place from 27 April to 1 July 2012, and is curated by Artur Żmijewski together with the Associate Curators Voina and Joanna Warsza. The Biennale is organized by KW Institute for Contemporary Art with the support of Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).

Hours Istituto Svizzero di Roma:
tuesday – friday h.10.00 – 13.00 / 15.00 – 17.30
free entry

Hours Esc atelier autogestito:
tuesday - wednesday h. 16.00 – 20.00
thursday-friday h. 16.00 – 22.00
free entry