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Curator Defne Ayas Leaves the Antarctic Biennale

On Facebook, the curator Defne Ayas announced her withdrawal from the first Antarctic Biennale. She walked away from the project because she claims a number of key decisions were not approved by her, including its overall framing, the text for the announcement, and the biennial’s age limit (the show’s open call states that they’re looking for “adventurous artists under thirty-five”).

Nadim Samman, another curator for the exhibition, says that “the Antarctic Pavilion is a long-term project, whose uncertain status vis-a-vis the Venice Biennale’s nationally overdetermined structure is a provocation: A quasi-institutional claim to represent a transnational sphere, out of line with the festival’s politics of territorial representation. It points to Antarctica as a Giardini of sorts, in which the sovereignty-obsessed cultural ambitions relevant two centuries ago still seem to hold sway—and proposes alternative futures.”

The biennial was started by the artist Alexander Ponomarev, who has a background in nautical engineering and has done a number of projects in Antarctica.