The OSTRALE – Centre for Contemporary Art is a non-profit association organizing and providing platform for the OSTRALE Biennale, as well as the base for the yearly Artist in Residence programmes for the artistic exploration of OSTRALE's annual themes, smaller exhibition series, events on video art between the Biennales, and the educational programmes OSTRALE.lab and OSTRALE.kontrovers. The OSTRALE Biennale, which takes place every two years during the summer months since 2017 and was a yearly event between 2007-2016, is the third largest international exhibition of contemporary art in Germany. It is not a sales exhibition per se, which gives us the freedom to discuss socially relevant topics regardless of market developments.

As "venue pioneers", the OSTRALE Biennale opens up unused industrial or cultural brownfields. So far, the 12 OSTRALEs have taken place at various venues of the former slaugtherhouse complex of Ostragehege in Dresden, namely in the old feeding stalls, in the pig dome, in the fat fat smeltery and in the cattle sheds, as well as abroad in Belgium in the old slaughterhouse of Eupen, in Poland in the "Browar Mieszczanski " former brewery of Wrozlaw and in Katowice in the old coal mine. The last edition of the OSTRALE Biennale O19 took place at the Historical Tobacco Factory f6 in the Striesen district and at 5 other decentralised locations in Dresden. In addition to collaborating with already established smaller art institutions and exhibition venues in the city, such as the Bautzner Straße Memorial Museum, the Ausländerrat Dresden, the Goethe Institute Dresden, the Alte Feuerwache Loschwitz and the ArtSAP Gallery, the OSTRALE also revitalized the Historical Tobacco Factory f6 in Dresden-Striesen as the Biennale's main exhibition space, transforming almost 6,000 square meters of production and office space into a unique location for the presentation of contemporary artworks.

With the interim use of one larger central building and several smaller satellite exhibitions, we will continue our established cooperations in the coming Biennale years of 2021 and 2023.

In the years between the Biennales, in frame of the exhibition series OUT of OSTRALE, we collaborate with European Capitals of Culture to present selected works from the exhibitions shown at the Biennales, as was the case previously in Pecs (Hungary, 2010), Breslau (Poland, 2016) and Valletta (Malta, 2018). In 2020 we will continue this tradition in cooperation with the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) Rijeka (Croatia). In this selection a total of 47 artists from 18 countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Czechia, Finland, Slovakia, Austria, Serbia, Great Britain, Poland, Ukraine, Malta, Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Lebanon) will be presented in Rijeka.

Further guest appearances of artists and artworks presented at the OSTRALE Biennale O19 will be held in Kenya and Uganda in frame of the WomanIsm Project. The German and African participants, who already got to know each other in frame of the Artist in Residence programme of the OSTRALE Biennale O19 in Dresden, will meet again in Nairobi (Kenya) in March 2020, to produce and exhibit collaborative artworks that will later be also presented in Kampala (Uganda) as well.

Preparations for the OSTRALE Biennale O21 begin in spring 2020 with the formation of a new international team of curators who will decide together on the main theme of the next Biennale and formulate the Open Call for the coming exhibition accordingly in February-March 2020.

The selection process of the OSTRALE is a mixed system, since artists can be invited by members of the curatorial team as well as apply themselves via the Open Call. In a three-stage jury and curatorial process, all jurors and curators then vote on the proposed artworks of the invited and applying artists. For the 2019 exhibition, the jury discussed and evaluated more than 1,800 artworks by 560 international artists.

The venue of the OSTRALE Biennale O21 is not yet known. Negotiations are underway with owners of several potential buildings in Dresden.

Mission

"OSTRALE exceeds mere geographic or political and historical destiny, it is much rather a magical space, shaped by worldfantasy and – reality.

The ideology of OSTRALE defends art as a medium of communication which can always be lacking words as mode of exchange. It is a sensual, empirical, as well as a revolting rendering and reflection on our addiction to words, at the same time it is a stimulus to act within different ideas and systems of logic.

Art is meant to highlight that it is impossible to reduce the complex spheres of knowledge to one single explanation, question, topic or to limit it to one single paradigm.

OSTRALE is meant to act as a base for an open culture scape - particularly in the realm of contemporary fine arts.

Culture is the basis on which we discuss our lives and identities. If we want to create a European Identity, a common European civic awareness and through this a global consciousness we need independent art and culture industries that can articulate openly and clearly. We have to trust the power of art and culture as it covers all thinkable and unimaginable spheres of our lives.

If we exploit art and culture too much and subordinate them to other aims, we deprive them of their deep lying power of conviction. OSTRALE represents the ghostly and humorous play of power structures and ideologies, and of "value" in the arts."

Andrea Hilger, Director and initiator of OSTRALE

Key Events in Our History

2007 | 1. OSTRALE O7, Signale
3 days / 3,500 visitors / 120 artists / 15 countries
Exhibition venues: the cattle shed, the social wing, the pigsty and the pig dome in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curators: Mike Salomon, Andrea Hilger

2008 | 2. OSTRALE O8, Transformation
10 days / 6,500 visitors / 160 artists / 19 countries
Exhibition venues: the cattle shed, the social wing, the pigsty, fat smeltery and the sheep shed in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curator: Sabine Zimmermann

2009 | 3. OSTRALE O9, Interim Arrangements
23 days / 11,000 visitors / 135 artists / 22 countries
Exhibition venues: the cattle shed, the social wing, the pig shed, the fat smeltery, the sheep shed, the director's villa, and the Western feeding stalls in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curators: Martin Müller, Katja Albers, Lukas Feireis, Andrea Hilger

2010 | 4. OSTRALE O10, Rites of Passage
23 days / 16,000 visitors / 200 artists / 24 countries
Exhibition venues: the cattle shed, the social wing, the pig shed, the fat smeltery, the sheep shed, the Western feeding stalls and the donkey shed in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curators: Martin Müller, Andrea Hilger
OUT of OSTRALE O10 Katowice
OUT of OSTRALE O10 Eupen

Cooperations: Rita Varga AAA/Approach Art Association Pecs/Hungary (ECOC), Dorota Kabiesz, Krzystof Skarbek, Galeria Szyb Wilson Katowice/Poland, Benjamin Fleig Eupen/Belgium

2011 | 5. OSTRALE O11, Slaughterhouse Five
1.7. - 4.9. / 57 days / 17,000 visitors / 160 artists / 32 countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls, the fat smeltery, the cool storage house, and the donkey shed in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curators: Martin Müller, Benjamin Fleig, Andrea Hilger
1. cool silicon art award organized for Cool Silicon e.V. in the building complex of the Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau

2012 | 6. OSTRALE O12, homegrown
13.7.–16.9. / 57 days / 17,500 visitors / 160 artists / 32 countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls, the fat smeltery, the cool storage house, the donkey shed, the outlands and House 11 in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden
Curators: Martin Müller, Benjamin Fleig, Andrea Hilger

2013 | 7. OSTRALE O13, we cross the rubicon
5.7. – 15.9. / 63 days / 18,000 Visitors / 86 Artists / 15 Countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls, the donkey shed, the outlands and House 11 in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden, Messe Dresden, Hotel Maritim, Pumpenhaus, OBERÜBER KARGER
Curators: Knut Hartwich, Friedrich Loock, Moritz Stange
2. cool silicon art award organized for Cool Silicon e.V. at the Messe Dresden

2014 | 8. OSTRALE O14, Around You
18.7. – 28.9. / 60 days / 19,000 Visitors / 200 Artists / 34 Countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls, the donkey shed, the outlands and House 11 in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden, Messe Dresden, Villa Baumgarten
Curators: Nadine Bors, Andrea Hilger
1st EU project PRIVATE NATIONALISM: cooperations with Ilona Nemeth, Michal Stofa, Kunsthalle Kosice/Slovakia / Edit Andras, MODEM Modern and Contemporary Arts Centre Debrecen/Hungary / Rita Varga, Marton Pacsika M21 Gallery, Zsolnay Cultural Quarter Pecs/ Hungary / Ivan Mecl, Lenka Klodova, Divus Prager Kabarett Prag/Czech Republic, Selda Asal, Apartman Project Gallery Istanbul/Turkey, Nadine Bors, Andrea Hilger, OSTRALE – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Dresden/Germany

2015 | 9. OSTRALE O15, HANDLE WITH CARE
10.7. – 27.9. / 66 days / 20,000 visitors / 180 artists / 32 countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls, the donkey shed, the outlands and House 11 in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden, Brühlsche Terrasse, Villa Baumgarten
Curators: Lydeke Schakel, Sybille Nütt, Miroslaw Jasinski, Harro Schmidt, Andrea Hilger
OUT of OSTRALE O15 St. Petersburg in the St. Anne church for the German Week in Russia
2. EU project open HUB: cooperations with Alicja Grabarczyk ArtBrut Gallery, Studio For Social & Cultural Inclusion Wroclaw/Poland / Babara Rosenberg, Emanuele Scataglini, Palazzina Sicentro, Biblioteca Valvassori Peroni Mailand/Italy / Angie Clopterop, Netwerk center for contemporary art, Aalst/Belgium / Andrea Hilger, OSTRALE – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Dresden/Germany / Out of OSTRALE, St. Annenkirche for the German week in in St. Petersburg/Russia

2016 | 10. OSTRALE O16, error:x
1.7. – 25.9. / 74 days / 25,000 visitors / 180 artists / 32 countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden, Messe Dresden
Curators: Drorit Gur Arie/Israel, Risa Takita/Japan, Syowia Kyambi/Kenya, Thomasz Wendland/Poland, Harro Schmidt, Antka Hofmann, Andrea Hilger
OUT of OSTRALE Wroclaw, OSTRALE weht ODER
1. European Capital of Culture cooperation in the Browar Mieszczanski, Anna Kudarewska Wroclaw/Poland
Curators: Sybille Nütt, Detlef Schweiger, Antka Hofmann, Andrea Hilger
Cooperations: Mediations Biennale, Thomasz Wendland, Anna Fedorczuk Poznan/Poland

2017 | 11. OSTRALE, 1. OSTRALE Biennale O17, re_form
28.7. – 1.10. / 57 days / 29,000 visitors / 164 artists / 25 countries
Exhibition venues: the Western and Eastern feeding stalls in the historical Erlwein slaughterhouse of Dresden, Messe Dresden
Curators: Mykola Dzhychka/Ukraine, Oliver Kratz, Detlef Schweiger, Holger Wendland, Antka Hofmann, Andrea Hilger
Cooperations: farewell to the past with Kultur Aktiv e.V. in Ivano-Frankivsk/Ukraine, Civic Media Lab Dnepropetrowsk/Ukraine

2018 | OUT of OSTRALE O18 Valletta, found a mentalism I and II
2nd European Capital of Culture cooperation in the German Maltese Circle and in St James Cavalier Valletta/Malta / 25.4. – 30.7. / 46 artists / 12 countries, Curators: Antka Hofmann, Andrea Hilger
Cooperations: Institution Spazju Kreattiv, Fondazija Kreattivita Valletta/Malta

2019 | 12. OSTRALE, 2. OSTRALE Biennale O19, ismus
3.7. – 1.9. / 46 days / 28,000 visitors / 180 artists / 34 countries
Exhibition venues: Historical Tobacco Factory f6 in Dresden-Striesen, Bautzner Straße Memorial Museum Dresden, Goethe Institute Dresden, Ausländerrat Dresden, E. Kunst- und Kulturverein Alte Feuerwache Loschwitz, art SAP
Curators: Drorit Gur Arie/Israel, Yik Chow/Hongkong, Syowia Kyambi/Kenia, Toni Sant/Malta, Antka Hofmann, Andrea Hilger
Cooperations: Bautzner Straße Memorial Museum Dresden, Goethe Institute Dresden, Ausländerrat Dresden, E. Kunst- und Kulturverein Alte Feuerwache Loschwitz, Institution Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta/Malta, Yeona Yu/South Corea, Artist collective Borjass from the Isoo Gallery Amol/Iran, Tessa Bahana Ugandan Arts Trust - 32º East Kampala/Uganda, Circle Art Gallery Nairobi/Kenya

Footfall and student participation

The very first OSTRALE exhibition in 2007 ended with a frequency of 3,500 visitors. Since then, the number of visitors has steadily increased: 20,000 visitors in 2015, and 25,000 in 2016. A record number of 30,000 people was reached during our last biennial in 2017, including 460 school classes from all over Saxony with a total of 9,500 students. The latest Biennale in 2019, although having been open one month less than the previous one, still attracted around 28,000 visitors, among them 5,000 students.

Target groups and inclusion

The main purpose of the OSTRALE is to present contemporary art of the highest quality to the widest possible audience locally, nationally and internationally. Visitors of all ages and backgrounds are welcome, regardless of ethnic, religious or cultural heritage. Throughout the years, the OSTRALE has been engaged in several projects and cooperations that were conceived to give underprivileged groups better access to art and our exhibitions.

We always make every possible effort to make our exhibition and event venues barrier-free and accessible for wheelchair users. With the support of Aktion Mensch, a visual, haptic and sign-language based guiding system helps our visitors with seeing and hearing impairments to get around the exhibition and perceive it in their own way. We regularly hold guided tours in sign language to people with hearing disabilities. Our "AllSense" app was developed to meet the exhibition-specific needs of the OSTRALE, containing important information and descriptions of the exhibited artworks in audio and sign language, useful for other visitors as well.

Our educational programs and workshops, which often take place in cooperation with exhibiting local and international artists, ensure that children, young people and students, together with their teachers and supervisors, can use the exhibition as an after-school educational venue and discover their own artistic potential during a visit to OSTRALE's public studio after the exhibition tour.

We closely cooperate with schools where many students have learning disabilities or educational difficulties due to their migrational background. We also regularly have special offers for students, pensioners and families.

Sources of funding

OSTRALE is a non-profit arts organization mainly funded by public institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany, private sponsors and other international funds and organizations. The main supporters of the OSTRALE are:

-- Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation)
-- Landeshauptstadt Dresden Amt für Kultur und Denkmalschutz (State Capital Dresden Office for Culture and Heritage)
-- Aktion Mensch e.V.
-- Schneider und Partner Wirtschaftsprüfung und Steuerberatung GmbH
(Private sponsor)

For specific projects, exhibitions and international cooperations, OSTRALE regularly applies for funding to various organizations of the European Union, local and national institutions of partner countries, and also different foundations in Germany.

Marketing and promotion

For years, we have been working with the brand communication agency Blaurock that handles our press relations and marketing. We are giving out press releases every month and then every week during the time of the Biennale, holding a big press conference at the beginning, the middle and the end of the core exhibition period.

For every exhibition, we are publishing a catalogue (1,500 copies), flyers (100,000 copies), posters (5,000 copies), and booklets (10,000 copies). Our exhibitions are widely covered in the local, national and international media, in newspapers (ca. 150 articles), radio (14 programs), and television (15 programs). We are also active in social media with our Facebook (8,350 followers) and Instagram accounts (1,035 followers).

ARCHIVE

Art as Resource

It is the idea and the aim of the OSTRALE to establish art as the property and resource pool of a modern society as well to organize and use its innovative power economically and socially on a regional and international level.

OSTRALE commenced in 2007 as a local initiative by Andrea Hilger and Mike Salomon and has ever since achieved a broad reach within a short period of time. The exhibition represents the whole spectrum of contemporary art in an interdisciplinary way. Hundreds of national and international artists are invited to take part in the festival, which takes place at a meaningful architectural and historic industrial venue.

Dresden in particular has reached worldwide recognition, being known as "Florence of the Elbe". However, with OSTRALE the city has gained the potential to set a cultural and touristic antipole to its baroque history and to develop a historical generative, contemporary perspective to the classical exhibition format. Thus, today Dresden can expand its international significance in relation to "modernity".

The concept of curation enables us to hold an open tender- and application procedure and also to directly invite international artists. In this manner we can achieve maximal scope and an enormous quality of international contemporary art. The artwork can be newly created in situ in our exceptional spacial structures or else be installed in a novel context.

Exhibition Space - The Feeding Sheds of the historical Hans-Erlwein Slaughterhouse

A 100 years ago the famous German architect Hans Erlwein planned and built an abattoir at the Ostra peninsula. Today this area in the heart of the city of the arts Dresden implies an inexhaustible potential. Contemporary art is to be presented in exceptional premises, where it can find large-size development far from conventions and restrictive structures.

The divers architectonical characteristics of the Rinderstall (cattle barn), Heuböden (hay garrets), Futterställe (fodder barns), Sozialtrakt (social wing), Zentrallager (central store), Fettschmelze (fat smelter), Direktorenvilla (director's mansion), Pförtnerhäuschen (gatekeeper's house) and Amtsschlachthof (official abattoir) offer an unrivalled sprectrum of space variety where art can be presented and shown in different contexts. Since 2007 every year new buildings of the slowly tumbledowning area are opened and used partly as temporary exhibition space and partly fixed up to grow as a constant part of the emerging centre of arts.

In the meantime the OSTRALE focus on the  8.000 m² exhibition space of the Futterställe.

the Ostra Area

The OSTRALE's vision is to question conventional standards, to open them and simultaneously offer ways to newly interpret contemporary art. The diversity of the room structures is kind of inspiration and sensory perception in the creation of artwork for the artist and in the reception of the same through the public.

The nearby city centre, the persistent transformation of the Ostra peninsula as well as the flora and fauna of the Elbe meadows, which stand for peace and recreation convert the OSTRALE to something special, a hidden jewel in the heart of the busy town.

The Ostragehege is located in the core area of the former world cultural heritage of the "Dresdner Elbtal", the valley of the river Elbe. It is bordered in the East by the "Marienbrücke", in the South by the district Friedrichstadt and in the West by the Alberthafen, the largest inland port of Dresden. The river Elbe surrounds the Ostragehege in a semi circle resulting the area to be a peninsula.

The Ostragehege is named after the village Ostra, which has been mentioned in 1209 for the first time. Ostra means "island", though the village has been located in the today's Friedrichstadt. With the construction of the fortress of Dresden the area around Ostra has been developed as "Ostravorwerk" (outer defence). Hence in 1568 the village has been disbanded and the inhabitants has been resettled close to the village Leubnitz (from then on Leubnitz-Neuostra).

Prior to urban expansion in the 19th century the area has been affected by a partly wooded marsh area. For a long period wet lands marked the Ostragehege, caused by the stream Weißeritz, which ended into the Elbe above the peninsula and created a perment flooded and marsh zone. Through man-made influences like the relocation of the Weißeritz stream course, large area banking, the expansion of the Elbe river banks, housing and the construction of the harbour the river banks and the hydrological circumstances changed remarkably.


The abattoir, constructed by the city's planning commissioner Erlwein consisted of 68 buildings. After five years of mounting the inauguration took place on August 19th 1910. The ensemble of buildings in the so-called "Heimatschutzstil" architecture is a prominent example of the Art Nouveau industrial architecture.

The complex has been constructed in form of a housing scheme, which is embraced by a circular road. Close to the "Schlachthofring" (abattoir circle) a stockyard with railway access has been situated next to cattle and flock barns, slaughterhouses, a boiler- and machine house, a cold store and a restaurant. The capacity of the abattoir in the year 1910 covers 550 pieces of cattle, 3.450 veal and sheep and 2.500 pieces of pork per day.

The bombing in February 1945 did heavy damage to the buildings of the abattoir. Because of the acute food shortage of the post war period the buildings has been quickly reconstructed in a reduced version leaving the loss of a large part of the Art Nouveau architecture. During the German Democratic Republic the state combine of meat went on using the complex.

Today the worthwhile historic buildings are under preservation order.

Caspar David Friedrich: „Das Große Gehege“ (1832)