María Inés Rodríguez: The Caribbean Biennial of Santo Domingo returns after several years' absence. What encouraged you into holding it again? |
Sara Hermann: The conception of the first edition was based on a series of observances for the 500th year anniversary of Columbus in 1992 and the need to accord pre-eminence to Caribbean art. It was a positive experience and was solely a paintings biennial which continued until 1996, but was not continued due to a lack of funds, initiative and infrastructure. In 2000 when we took over the management of the museum (Museo de Arte Moderno, Santo Domingo), we decided to start the project again in view of the need to generate a space for confluence and exchange with Caribbean artists and offer them a platform from which they can diffuse and promote their work--in short, to give them greater visibility.
MIR: How is this Biennial conceived with respect to the Havana Biennial?
SH: We are a regional biennial and, as such, have assumed a series of commitments and risks, resulting in a difference between our project and other biennials, above all the Havana Biennial. We are a regional biennial with a very specific geographical limit which is the Greater Caribbean. At the Cuban Biennial a vocabulary is used based on geo-economical and political circumstances, something we do not deal with since we do not give pre-eminence to any situation, so there is a difference approach.
It is very important to us for each country to have its own curatorial direction in order for it to have a vision from its own perspective. This contains its share of risks, as we have seen, but at the same time it has its advantages. This is the model which we can continue working with and developing in forthcoming editions.
MIR: This point is very important, since this biennial, as in the case of that of Venice and others, reflects the political culture of the guest countries, you can see how each one assumes cultural identification and how and what it chooses to show. For the next biennial have you thought of having each country's curator propose the artists, accompany them and be present at the opening?
SH: Obviously from the logistic viewpoint this is more complicated but it is necessary, it has to be that way, as you well said and as we have commented on previous occasions, it is very evident in this edition of the biennial when there are so many curators that there be a cohesive curatorial vision. We have to work on this, see in what way we can make the curators more responsible for the work they have to do and what this signifies. It is evident who assumes the position from a governmental perspective.