Art Is Going to The Freezing South

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The 1st Antarctic Biennale, an original concept with the idea of gathering artists, scientists and researchers all around the world, has sat sails to the “Last Continent” on 17th of March.

Under the motto from Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, the motto of captain Nemo and his Nautilus, which is ”Mobilis in mobile”, this group of contemporary artists is about the step on the pure and white plains of Antarctica and push the boundaries of modern concepts of artistic creation.

© Adeliepenguin | - Icebergs Reflected in Still Waters, Antarctica © Adeliepenguin | - Icebergs Reflected in Still Waters, Antarctica

The first ships began their journey from the port of Ushuaia in Argentina on 17th of March and are heading towards the cold ice through the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Passage of Drake when the expedition will arrive at the promised land. The expedition consists of 50 to 100 members. Artists and scientists are joined by the organization who came up with the idea, as well as the technical support group, reporters and critics. There will also be a small filming crew who will document this unique event.

The main quest for the people involved in the project is to create objects, installations, stage actions and all kind of performances. The idea is that their creations are portable, able to resist all unpredictable and heavy weather conditions and not to cause any damage to the environment they are populating. After the Biennale, several exhibitions will be staged in museums around Europe and Russia, where people will have the chance to admire the imagination and inventiveness of this daring group.

dreamstime_s_12163709 © Patrick Poendl |

The idea for the Antarctic Biennale originally came from a Russian sailor, but also an artist and philosopher Alexander Ponomarev all the way back in 2011. Three years later, in 2014, he established the Antarctic Pavilion, as a foundation to the Biennale. The Pavilion, drawing inspiration from Ponomarev’s past nautical and sailing experience, is about exploring the unexplored, a concept which wants to investigate the difference between reality and illusions, as well as how a

personal and cultural history of humans entwine. Ponomarev wanted to utilize the cultural potential of Antarctica, where he has already realized numerous projects.


On January 24th, the Biennale got UNESCO’s patronage, who recognized the good will of promoting the continent and the idea of global cultural and scientific exchange. The expedition was funded and got support from many different organizations, including Eugene Kaspersky, the Chairman of Kaspersky Lab, who was fascinated by the endeavor and the passion from the people involved with it. The project was also supported by Anna Somers Cocks, CEO of the Art Newspaper Group, and Nic Iljine, who is the advisor to the General Director of the State Heritage Museum.

The Antarctic Biennale will last from 12 to 15 days, depending on the weather conditions and the time it will take them to reach their goals. But it will not end there, because, as the organization behind it emphasized, this is “biennale in process”, a process of constantly building the space for productive and meaningful creations. On this plain and white sheet of paper on the map, artists from different countries will try to write their own rules, expanding the borders and identity.