Nicolaus Schafhausen withdraws as the curator of the 6th Bucharest Biennale

30/1 2014 

Nicolaus Schafhausen, director of the Kunsthalle Wien, withdraws, effective immediately, as the curator of BB6, the 6th Bucharest Biennale 2014. The curatorial direction of BB6 developed in a direction inconsistent with that of PAVILION – the local organizers in the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

In the summer of 2012 Nicolaus Schafhausen was officially appointed curator of BB6. This iteration of the Biennale was, for the first time, to be organized in close cooperation and collaboration with a leading institution for contemporary art: the Kunsthalle Wien in Austria.

Together with Office for Art in Berlin, Nicolaus Schafhausen created an overall curatorial concept for the show entitled “Longing and Belonging”. The focus of this direction was to involve numerous international artists who were born in Romania. The organizers of BB6 stood behind this concept and were, with Nicolaus Schafhausen, interested in looking at the fields of tension between the longing for (national) identity and (personal) individuality, as well as artistic treatments of the philosophical concepts of the “other” and the “self”. In addition extensive symposia in both Vienna and in Bucharest were planned and agreed upon.

Furthermore, Nicolaus Schafhausen was in direct contact with various sponsors and private partners, who were interested in funding and supporting the BB6 based on this curatorial direction.

After working towards this concept for a year and a half, however, a number of curatorial and artistic differences emerged between the various parties involved in the organisation and execution of BB6. These differences of approach are irreconcilable. For these reasons Nicolaus Schafhausen and his partners cannot in good faith continue to support BB6 and PAVILION, and consequently must terminate any further commitments. This decision is made without any intention to harm or encumber any of the involved parties.

The Separation: A February Story with Blacklisting, Longing for a Biennale and the Unbearable Weight of Belonging