A short walk through the beautiful Birk area brings us to the seventh chapter of the biennial, which takes place at Herning Højskole. As the only tall building in the area, this former folk high school towers proudly over Birk, telling the world that here is a place of lofty ambitions. Being a key part of the unique story of Herning in the 1960s when industrious businessmen made the art and culture scene blossom – Manzoni even made the entire world a work of art in Herning – the building is the perfect setting for the biennial’s final chapter. But like all good endings, this chapter also looks ahead to something new, something that is coming up.
As the title Incubator suggests, the venue shows works by artists who are not yet firmly established, but certainly up-and-coming on the contemporary art scene. The works share a focus on art as something performative – here art makes something happen, usually in a social context and by engaging with the exhibition space in new ways. For example, you will find live chickens here as part of Koen Vanmechelen’s Planetary Community Chicken (PCC). The project focuses on bringing new, healthier chickens to the world’s communities, and emphasizes the importance of diversity and local, small-scale community farming for long-term sustainability. In Herning a Cosmopolitan rooster; the Mechelse Danish will interbreed with local hens, and during the exhibition period their eggs will hatch and the chickens be reared at the Herning Højskole venue.
Rirkrit Tiravanija also involves the local community directly with his community kitchen: a garden containing various crops will be created outside the venue, tended by local volunteers. Once the crops are ready, the artist and participants will prepare a meal together, and all are welcome to partake of the meal. Sharing and exchanging are also key elements for the artist group Art Barter, who will stage an art auction at the venue based on a barter economy approach. You can offer anything in return for the art – except money.
The large theatre hall inside the building becomes the setting of a graceful robot dance as Shawcross’s mega-structure draws light sculptures in the dark. Outside in the garden we find Celesté Boursier-Mougenot’s enchanting “bee symphony” where the sound of bees are transformed to music and transmitted from the hives out into the air. Other offerings include entire rooms covered in spun yarn, wind machines that create drawings in the court yard, and finally you can round off your experience with building a poetic brick railway in the halls.
INCUBATOR is curated by Olivier Varenne with Martin Guinard-Terrin