Resources > Biennial Foundation
18 Aug 2014

Biennial Foundation

Biennial Foundation is an independent non-profit arts organization that was founded by Marieke van Hal in 2009 to stimulate a spirit of solidarity among contemporary art biennials worldwide, and to facilitate a diversity of platforms for the exchange of knowledge, information and expertise.

Biennials are vital and visible sites for the production, distribution, and public discourse around contemporary art. Biennial Foundation’s work stands as pioneering: over one hundred fifty contemporary art biennials currently exist and Biennial Foundation has been the first initiative facilitating a connection among them.

Biennial Foundation’s most important activity to date is the World Biennial Forum. Geared towards biennial makers and their collaborators, the World Biennial Forum enables practitioners from various biennial initiatives in the world to convene and to discuss the foremost topics and concerns in the field.

Biennial Foundation serves as an international network rather than as a traditional art institution. Team members are based in different countries and continents, mirroring the foundation’s scope and neutral identity. Biennial Foundation is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. It is legally registered in The Netherlands and global in its practices.


  • operates as an independent organization providing an open PLATFORM for biennial makers and appreciators within the international arts community;

  • establishes contact between disparate biennial organizations and facilitates the exchange of information, experiences and expertise within a GLOBAL NETWORK of partner organizations;

  • assists partner organizations to CRITICALLY REFLECT upon their mission and to develop and implement the highest standards of practice;

  • supports interdisciplinary research and production of KNOWLEDGE related to contemporary biennials and exhibitions around the world;

  • diffuses knowledge and promotes public AWARENESS of contemporary art biennials, focusing on their shared objectives and common practices while acknowledging and celebrating their diversity;

  • reaches out to and actively COLLABORATES with other organizations that provide support for biennials around the world and/or share Biennial Foundation’s aims and values;

  • provides ADVICE for individuals, associations, and institutions intending to enrich their local infrastructure for contemporary art by setting up a new international exhibition or perennial art event.


  • Biennial Foundation Talks

An ongoing series of talks organized in collaboration with biennials and other arts organizations taking place during the exhibition period of a given biennial or at a special art event. Topics are jointly conceived with our partners and related to themes addressed by the hosting biennial or art institution.

  • Hub for Biennial Knowledge (HUB)

Biennial Foundation is gradually developing an online collective space for biennial reading and discourse, especially valuable for art students and scholars. This resource is one of our foremost contributions to the field of education and theoretical research.

  • BTV (multi-media resources)

Ongoing interviews with contemporary art biennials in the world, archived on our website. This multi-media resource gives insight to the origins, mission and developments of biennials and sheds light on specific features. BTV includes the recording and broadcasting of our own art events.

  • World Biennial Forum (WBF)

Shaped especially for biennial makers and their collaborators this large-scale recurring forum enables biennial practitioners to exchange ideas and experiences about common practices, problems and expertise, and to discuss the foremost concerns in the arena. The forum is always realized in collaboration with a biennial or an art institution.

  • Biennial Archive

Apart from collecting and sharing information online (Hub for Biennial Knowledge), Biennial Foundation is gradually developing a physical archive / library including books, catalogues, journals, and art magazines.