From June to September, Borås Art Museum once again organises the Borås Art Biennial with thought-provoking contemporary artworks displayed in public spaces throughout the city, at the Borås Art Museum, and the Textile Museum.

It all started with Jim Dine’s nine-metre-tall bronze sculpture of Pinocchio called Walking to Borås, which was displayed in the city as part of the first Borås International Sculpture Biennial in 2008. Organising an international event of this scale was a bold move of Borås Art Museum, a move that has no doubt paid off over the years and really put the city on the cultural map.

Borås Art Biennial – at the forefront with art trails through the city

Jim Dine, Walking to Borås, 2008. Photo: Emil Dalqvist

The museum’s mission is to support contemporary art, not just sculptures, and as of 2018, the biennial has also included other forms of expression such as video, installations and visual arts. To reflect this change in focus, the event changed its name to Borås Art Biennial. Today, the event attracts significant attention, with some 45,000 people visiting its indoor spaces every year; outdoors the number is even higher but harder to measure.

“Our city is filled with art freely available to the public, so you consume art without even knowing it,” says Eva Eriksdotter, director of Borås Art Museum. “The pieces are sometimes thought-provoking and can kickstart conversations, and they’ve become part of the city’s identity. Seeing our public sculptures and constellations can also inspire people to come and see what’s inside the museum.”

Borås Art Biennial – at the forefront with art trails through the city

Jaume Plensa, House of Knowledge, 2014. Photo: Maria Karlsson

Our relationship to time, space, and site

The biennial certainly shapes the identity of Borås. Most artworks are placed outside and can be experienced at any time of day. In fact, when coming to the city, you will immediately be greeted by art. If arriving by train, you will see Jaume Plensa’s House of Knowledge. If coming by car, you will most likely pass by the massive Pinocchio. And if stepping off the bus at the travel centre, you will overlook Alice Aycock’s Devil Whirls.

The artists create pieces specifically for the location and after the biennial, several sculptures and artworks remain in place. “The theme for 2024 highlights our relationship to time, space, and site, exploring links to our surroundings, the landscape and the environment,” says Caroline Gustafsson, the curator. “The artists engage with the world at large in various ways, presenting alternative, parallel or fictional worlds – making room for cosmology, science and enigmas.”

Borås Art Biennial – at the forefront with art trails through the city

Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2021. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

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Borås Art Biennial 2024 takes place between 15 June and 15 September 2024.

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