Ten large black and white printed Plexiglas panels stand in the middle of the room and allow for a wide variety of perspectives and ideas. Under the title “Autopropaganda – or Capital is a bad Mediator”, the Austrian studio Asynchrone shows footage of events in the …

Ten large black and white printed Plexiglas panels stand in the middle of the room and allow for a wide variety of perspectives and ideas. Under the heading “Self-propaganda – or capital is a bad mediator”, the Austrian studio Asynchrone shows comic book-style images of recent and past events under the heading “Resistance, Influence, Consciousness, Limits, Distribution”. The American Koch brothers, for example, are pumping millions of dollars into social media to deny climate change. It is a flood of information, of which the viewer becomes a stakeholder thanks to the translucent boards and thus also creates information or even false information, of which he then becomes the victim. It’s a visually impressive, artistically elaborate, and original mess that Marleen Leitner and Michael Schitnig are contributing to the Ostrale.

This also characterizes the entire biennial, which this year takes place in the former Robotron canteen in Dresden. The pavilion, built between 1969 and 1972, offers approximately 3,500 square meters of exhibition space for the exhibition curated by Nataša Bodrožic and Ivana Meštrov from Croatia, Patricija Gilyte from Lithuania and Hungarian Krisztián Kukla. “As one of the last remaining individual buildings in Dresden, the Robotron canteen is an example of a modern building in the GDR. It offers ideal conditions for the presentation of contemporary art in the center of Dresden and of course a beautiful setting. architectural for a view of Eastern Europe, ”said Ostrale director Andrea Hilger of the new exhibition venue.

A total of 557 works – paintings, graphics, installations, videos – by 138 artists from 34 countries will be shown here and in three other venues under the somewhat cryptic motto “Breathturn”. The exhibition focuses on the limits of growth, sustainability and life on the water. The curatorial team describes their curatorial approach as follows: “Being human is not enough and yet it is already too much. Sometimes we behave like robots, but we want to feel like animals. How to breathe a new breath of work and pleasure, art and industry, politics and poetics think when everything flows into each other, like rivers in a river? Is the entire planet our home or just the square meters we occupy? Between change of scenery and reorientation to find new paths and avoid dead ends, we have to breathe differently. We must breathe differently Change perspective and pay attention to those who are at the limit of our field of vision: the outsiders, the oppressed, the unknown, but also the biosphere, buildings and social spaces. new post-pandemic era, exhausted but hopeful, curious and ready for a change L’Ostrale 2021 explores how we live together with our fellow human beings, animals and our complex environment. “

There is a great demand – can art really still meet it? With “Desert”, István Csákány from Hungary has created a sort of huge living space made entirely of wood: walls, chairs, furniture, cups, bottles, wooden plates. The living wood material becomes a sort of claustrophobic tomb. A sort of memorial to a time when things were still usable turns only on canvas. And perhaps breathed as the object “aTMEN” by German artist Anuschka Killian-Buck – a moving fur on the ground, which alludes to both breathing and people. With a series of photos, Croatian Lana Stojicevic commemorates an environmental scandal in her country, in which 140,000 tons of industrial waste was insufficiently dumped and which transformed a landscape also characterized by artistic traditions into a post-modern and poisoned space . Moldovan artist Ghenadie Popescu wandered for years in the river valleys of his native country and collected stories from the political, social and ecological past of these rivers and summarized them in an animated film.

The environment and nature, the way people manage natural resources, play a role in many works. As is the tradition with Ostrale, it is not always easy to find the appropriate notes for individual works. In some rooms, the empty Robotron canteen with old furniture itself becomes a work of art that asks how we deal with testimonies from the past. This also applies to the other exhibition venues: the Kaditz wastewater treatment plant, the new Ostrale base in Dresden and Übigau and the Bautzener Straße memorial. In the former district administration of State Security and the former political detention center, little emphasized the connection with the Ostrale during our visit, we have to look for the exhibits – nevertheless the former dark Soviet caves and the State Security pre-trial detention center are worth a visit.

The Robotron Canteen’s Ostrale menu, for example, features a full menu with a stimulating new confusion.

The Ostrale Biennale 2021 is on view until October 3 in the Robotron canteen, Zinzendorfstraße 5, and at three other locations in Dresden. Open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information on the Internet: www.ostrale.de