During the last few months, a slew of new biennials has been either launched or announced. In the Arctic, Honolulu, Denmark, Katmandu…these events seem to be popping up around the world (see Honolulu, Karachi, Aarhus: More Biennials in 2017). It was on the territory of the oldest biennial of all, in a hotel in Venice, that the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation decided to announce the launch of the Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB).

Its first edition will be held in the Thai capital in November 2018. The foundation in charge of its organisation is being overseen by the president and managing director of ThaiBev (a drinks company), Tharapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, and the exhibition curator and former permanent secretary to the Culture Minister, Apinan Poshyananda.

According to ArtAsiaPacific, the theme around which the artists will be working is “Beyond Bliss”. Apinan Poshyananda, who will be the biennial’s artistic director, explained that this theme counters this “chaotic era of disruption and violence”. The artists of Europe, Asia and the Pacific will therefore have to give material form to their vision of joy.

On the biennial’s site, the organisers explain how they also want to turn Bangkok into a leading centre on the international art scene. To help them in this task, the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation has appointed a team of renowned consultants that includes Alexandra Munroe (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), David Stuart Elliot (Museum of Modern Art, Oxford), Eugene Tan (National Art Gallery, Singapore), and Nanjo Fumio (Mori Art, Tokyo). The team has more than a year to come up with ideas on the best way for the Bangkok Art Biennale to make a place for itself on the increasingly busy calendar of contemporary art biennials.

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