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Coventry Biennial 2023: a short cut through the brambles

Across Coventry Biennial 2023, artists and their many collaborators interrogate humankind’s relationship to the world around us.

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Starting with the broad themes of place, the human condition and the intersection of these, the fourth Coventry Biennial will focus on deep time, the mythological and the ground-level, a number of projects explore what is or might be right under our feet. Water becomes a recurring theme. In a city that is about as far from the sea as you can get in the United Kingdom, artists are asking questions about access to water, local and global water infrastructures and the implications and impacts of living on islands.

Likewise, what is extracted from the earth is a common thread across the fourth Coventry Biennial, with investigations into petrocultures, guano, geology and waste materials. What can and should be added to our public spaces is a significant area of enquiry and action across a number of socially engaged projects encompassing portraiture, storytelling and the cultivation of urban gardens.

Buried, flowing, growing. Rising, extracted, discarded.

Our relationships to the world around us are dense and tangled. Throughout this Biennial artists remind us of this. … like a short cut through the brambles they take us by the hand and lead us, cautiously.

The title for this Biennial is drawn from a line of poetry by Antony Owen, a Coventry-based poet and activist. As a title for the fourth Coventry Biennial, this half line of poetry acts as an open-ended provocation that connects deeply to the work that our artists are making and asks questions about belonging, protest and survival in a complex world. The title might suggest danger or risk but is also emblematic of freedom, navigation and a close engagement with the natural world.

Artists exhibiting at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum as a part of Coventry Biennial 2023 include:
Ania Bas, Phoebe Boswell, Alice Channer, Jo Gane, Ikon Youth Programme, Seungwon Jung, Yva Jung, Dinh Q. Lê, Rene Matić, Jem Southam

Artists exhibiting elsewhere as a part of Coventry Biennial 2023 include:
A History of Frogs, Can Altay, Clémence Lollia Hilaire, Paul Lemmon and Graeme Macdonald, Mothers Who Make and Alice Wood, Janet Tryner

Click here for full details on Coventry Biennial 2023 artists, exhibitions, events and activities

Coventry Biennial 2023 is generously funded by: Arts Council England, University of Warwick, Coventry University, Coventry City Council Coventry Biennial 2023 is supported by friends and colleagues including: British Council Biennials Connect, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Nuneaton Library, Ikon Gallery, Freelands Foundation, Artangel, Arcadia Missa, Art Council Collection, Mondriaan Fonds, West Midlands Combined Authority and Heart of England.