Open Call O21

Open Call for the OSTRALE Biennale O21

Quota, target / GDP / (De)growth / Rivers, streams, currents / Upstream

Looking at the environmental, social and economic dynamics of the last decade (or, to put it bluntly, "the end of the world as we know it"), it is increasingly clear that the imperative of continuous growth and development is no longer a sustainable vision for our future, if we want one at all.

But even though more and more individuals come to this realization, the greater systems that govern our world and our societies seem less willing to change their ways. Sometimes it feels as if we are caught in a current against which it is pointless to fight, but swimming upstream seems more important than ever as we do not have as much time as would normally be needed for such fundamental cultural shifts.

The role of art in this context is problematic: should it serve as a means of to develop sensibility and empathy for a deeper understanding of these questions? Or would this be a restriction of artistic freedom and an invitation to propaganda? Is art a luxury of the developed world that should be abolished first when we reduce our consumption and limit our material needs? Or is it, on the contrary, the most important tool to survive and maintain our hopes in an otherwise hopeless and frightening world?

For the 13th time the OSTRALE – Centre for Contemporary Art organises its international exhibition of contemporary art in Dresden during the summer months, in the year 2021 from July 1 to October 3. Therefore we invite artists of all nations, age groups, backgrounds and art forms to apply with their works to participate in the OSTRALE Biennale O21. All proposals will be evaluated by an international team of curators. The final selection of artworks will be made from the works of the applicants and the artists invited by the curators. Applications will be accepted exclusively online via the OSTRALE database from March 25 to June 28, 2020.

1. Application procedure and deadlines

Application process: March 25, 2020 to June 28, 2020

Please note that during the period around Easter (April 6-19, 2020) we can only be reached to a limited extent.

Duration of exhibition: July 1, 2021 to October 3, 2021

Follow-up exhibition: Kaunas as part of the European Capital of Culture 2022 in Lithuania

1. Jury meeting: 41st calendar week 2020 (October 5-9)
2. Jury meeting: 48th calendar week 2020 (November 26-29)

Please do not ask any questions concerning the selection of the artworks before the jury meetings took place. Information regarding the final decision will be given 2 weeks after the jury meetings at the earliest.

2. Terms and conditions of participation (Overview)

- All artists, regardless of age, nationality, background or career status, are invited to apply with thematically relevant artworks.

- All forms of contemporary visual art are welcome, including drawing, painting, graphics, photography, sculpture, installation, performance, digital and video art, sound installations and other forms not mentioned here.

- Applications are only possible online, via the database system of the OSTRALE. You can register and upload your works by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

- An artist can apply with a maximum of 5 artworks.

- Applicants must pay 12€ (6€ for art students) to cover the administrative costs of the application procedure, regardless of the number of works of art proposed.

Since we do not want this small contribution to our administrative work to discourage any artist who is in financial difficulties due to the current situation of the Corona pandemic from applying for the exhibition at the Biennial, payment of these costs is now optional. In this case, you will be asked to explain your situation in a reply e-mail after you have submitted your application.

The participation fee we require from our applicants is intended to ensure that the administration and evaluation of the applications, of which we receive several hundred for each exhibition, is handled quickly, professionally and efficiently, and the income it generates is more important than ever for the continuation of our work today.

In the meantime, we encourage all other applying artists who have the means to pay the participation fee to do so and thus support our organisational work for the benefit of all artists.

- There will be absolutely no further costs to be covered by the artists during the exhibition process. All costs for transport, catalogue, exhibition organisation, material for Artists in Residence and insurance etc. as well as travel and accommodation costs for artists invited by the OSTRALE to install their works personally before the exhibition opening will be provided by the organiser.

- The final decision of the jury will be communicated in writing (by e-mail) following the end of the second curators' meeting (November 29, 2020).

- You can read the complete terms and conditions of participation in the document here (PDF). Please make sure that you have read it carefully before applying.

3. OSTRALE.kontrovers O21 in Dresden

Town squares are places of peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding.

In the summer of 2021, parallel to the OSTRALE Biennale O21, we want to use public space by building a temporary "Forum" with panel discussions, film screenings, readings and other artistic and community programs, to transform it into a place of dialogue, friendship and social and artistic reflection.

To accompany this program, we are looking for contemporary art installations and sculptures that will be presented around the Forum, dealing with current cultural and social issues in a thoughtful and provocative way.

Artists who apply with their works for this specific project must take into account that, due to the publicly accessible space, it is only possible to monitor and insure these works of art to a limited extent (especially not against vandalism). In addition, it must be ensured that they can withstand weather conditions and that they can be installed in a public-safe manner and with a static proof during the three months of their presence in the city.

4. The international curatorial team

The jury consists of renowned art scholars, curators and art historians from four Eastern European countries, including the OSTRALE direction:

Patricija Gilyte, LITHUANIA

Krisztián Kukla, HUNGARY

Ivana Meštrov & Nataša Bodrožić (Slobodne veze) CROATIA

Andrea Hilger & Antka Hofmann (OSTRALE) EAST GERMANY


You can read more about the members of the international curatorial team here.


Attention: Artists who have already registered in the OSTRALE database for the OSTRALE Biennale in 2019 must also register again and cannot use their old usernames and passwords.

By clicking on the above link you are choosing to use the English version of the databank, meaning that all communication with you will be also held in English. If you prefer filling out the registration form in German and prefer us to communicate with you in German, please use this link.