The 1st Biennale of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, entitled “Heterotopias”, organised by the State Museum of Contemporary Art with the support of the Ministry of Culture from May 21 until September 30, 2007. The title is borrowed from Michel Foucault’s lecture on real spaces-islands where man follows a certain set of rules, which distract him from his daily functions. We interpret Foucault’s text based on new conditions which prove its timelessness. We detect contemporary “heterotopias”, counterpoising real spaces with imaginary ones and we imagine new spaces of the future. As the Biennale’s city, Thessaloniki reevaluates the notions of centre and periphery and brings the periphery to the centre by abolishing the established borders. This way, art is liberated from the restricting walls of a Museum which, regardless, is a “heterotopia” in itself. The Director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art and one of the three curator of the main programme of the Biennale, Maria Tsantsanoglou -the other two are Catherine David, Jan-Erik Lundström– notes: “Foucault underlines that the museum is a heterotopia. However, in the end, it is the work of art that becomes a heterotopia. It is the creation of a space within the real one, a space that borrows elements from the real space, situations and actions, archives and drawings in order to offer, in the end, a strange reflection of the real space, a “heterotopia”, that exists and is determined by a system of rules referring to ethics and aesthetics codes”.
Excerpt from e-flux, edition: July 16, 2007 (Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art)