The Athens Biennale, constantly intuitive towards the institution of biennales, revises its identity by extending its duration to two years. Bridging the past to the present and the future, the fifth edition of the Biennale (2015) merges with the sixth (2017). The Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017, a daring and experimental endeavor launches its activities in June 2015 and peaks in June 2017 with the opening of documenta 14.
In view of the critical historical juncture, the Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017 focuses on burning issues such as the emergence of alternative economies, the performative in the political and the establishment of institutions that redefine the systems structures and its pre-existing models, while highlighting the current views of contemporary art.
The Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017: “OMONOIA” builds on the successful fourth edition of (AGORA) 2013 forming a curatorial team consisting of social philosophers, political thinkers, art theorists, curators and artists. The Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017 arises as a reaction to the current political and social conditions and a need to activate the public through art and contemporary theoretical viewpoints.
The Athens Biennale’s 2015 – 2017: “OMONOIA” launches a two-year period of activities that will run from June 2015 through the summer of 2017, in various venues across the Athens center, and, more specifically, at Omonoia square. The aim of this two-year period and the collaboration with the Municipality of Athens is the discovery of a permanent location for the organization’s parternships, from which point the activities of Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017 will take place. The creation of a cultural centre in a period of crisis and cultural reconstruction led the Athens Biennale 2015 – 2017 to Omonoia square and the selection of the former hotel Bageion as the symbolic starting point for the unfolding of the artistic program.
The four-storey listed building of the former hotel Bageion, an excellent example of the Athenian urban architecture, dates back to the late of the 19th century. Ernst Ziller built the hotel between 1890-1894 after the donation of Ioannis Bagas, The Bageion located in Omonoia square, the oldest square in Athens, which until 1930 was the center of secular life and commercial point of the city. In the basement of the hotel was housed a traditional cafe with habitués from all social strata of life, who found there freedom from the conservatism of the time. In the early 1920s the Bageion becomes a spiritual refuge for the young writers of the time (Mitsos Papanikolaou, Napoleon Lapathiotis, Tellos Agras, Minos Zotos, Nick Saravas) and becomes one of the most important places where the new generation of the Greek Literature was formed later.