Coventry Biennial

I talk to Ryan Hughes, the artistic director at the Coventry Biennial.

The Coventry Biennial first arrived in the West Midlands in 2017 attracting over 24k visitors. It is an international city with 26 twin cities around the world, and an international demographic where you can hear numerous languages spoken as you walk down the street.

The Coventry Biennial takes place from 4th October to 24 November 2019. See more details on their website here https://www.coventrybiennial.com

Ryan talks about the festivals and biennials he was looking to as he developed the idea for Coventry, and goes on to talk about the behind the scenes planning for the 2019 event.

Five things I learned from Ryan Hughes

  1. Conversations with artists started during the first event to show people what they were doing and what they wanted to do for the second event.

  2. The event has over 100 artists exhibiting, in spaces which include previously disused buildings, and spaces which are not typically accessible to the public. Exhibitions in these spaces open up the city and it is important to the organisers that the spaces are used sensitively and artists respond to the place where their art is shown.

  3. The Biennial commissions work from artists rather than showing existing works.

  4. The theme of The Twin came about as Coventry was the first city to have a twin city and it now has 26 twin cities around the world. For the Biennial the idea of The Twin explores duality and relationships . This is reflected in the collaborations and peer to peer relationships formed between artists creating work.

  5. As well as established artists such as Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Lawrence Abu Hamdan, the Biennial will be showing work by numerous early and mid career artists such as Bharti Parmar and Marianne Piper.