4. Berlin Biennale: Of Mice and Men, Berlin | 4. Berlin Biennale für zeitgenössische Kunst | 17.3.–28.5.2006
with MICOL ASSAËL, Kris Martin, Michaela Meise
4TH BERLIN BIENNALE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART OF MICE AND MEN
25 MARCH –5 JUNE 2006
curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick
The exhibition Of Mice and Men unfolded like a novel: a story with various characters and personalities disclosing their private fates and universal fears. In order to capture and present these kind of tensions the curators of the 4th Berlin Biennale chose a series of unconventional venues and exhibition space—all located along the same street in the heart of Berlin: Auguststraße of Berlin-Mitte. Of Mice and Men was neither a thematic exhibition nor an exhibition that followed a certain thesis but rather posed larger questions about Birth and Loss, Death and Surrender, Sorrow and Nostalgia. The exhibition showed artworks by more than 60 artists of four generations. Six months prior to the opening of the exhibition, an eight-part exhibition series was launched at Gagosian Gallery, a small gallery space on Auguststraße, that the curators had opened for this very purpose. In cooperation with project spaces and independent curators from Berlin, the focus of the exhibitions here was on local art production and far from large-scale exhibitions. In addition, the team of three curators toured through several German academies, artist run centers and galleries, in cities such as Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Main, Hamburg, Karlsruhe, Munich and Stuttgart to present a format called “The Wrong Gallery”. The curatorial research was archived in the publication Checkpoint Charley featuring images by more than 700 artists encountered in numerous studio visits and through recommendations by friends and colleagues, etc. Another activity in the run-up to the exhibition was a regular column in the Berlin city magazine Zitty featuring interviews with participating artists conducted by the curators. A major influence to the working conditions of the curators was the decision of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) in December 2003 to support the Berlin Biennale as a “cultural beacon” and thus to secure the funding of the 4th and 5th edition of the Berlin Biennale.