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.