Last year’s edition of Bruges Triennial – TraumA – was a resounding success. Despite the pandemic, over 350,000 art and architecture lovers explored the city through contemporary installations that also revealed Bruges’ lesser-known paths and forgotten narratives. This three-yearly event, which has surprised Bruges residents and visitors since 2015, is now a highly-regarded player in the cultural landscape. Extensive research conducted after Bruges Triennial 2021 not only confirmed this, but also resulted in a framework for the future with key values and a new curatorial duo.
"Bruges Triennial has proven its formula for success. Contemporary art and architecture combined with our beautiful heritage city sheds a new light on what Bruges was, is, or can be. After three editions, this is a good moment to reflect on the future and refocus the event’s mission. The team could not be more ambitious or enthusiastic as they start work on this challenging and refreshing new edition."
Commissioned by City of Bruges, the research reaffirmed the core values of Bruges Triennial while expressing the ambition to make the event even more sustainable and international. It will still be held every three years, free for all, with a number of installations within the city walls; additional attention will be given to accessibility and the public domain is still the creative arena. Furthermore, this new edition will focus on maximum, round-the-clock visibility. A series of monumental, visual and architectural artworks will once again enter into dialogue with the city – a UNESCO World Heritage site – and, on the basis of an overarching theme, encourage reflection and exploration.
"With Bruges Triennial, we aim to enhance the international appeal of our city and focus on a high-quality total experience. Together with the wave of innovation at Musea Brugge, we want to seize the Triennial moment to capitalise on and further develop our image as an art city – one that is contemporary, and not just historical."
Shendy Gardin trained as an interior architect and journalist at the KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture and Literature. She swopped the drawing board for the editorial office of A+ Architecture in Belgium, which inspired her research into the image of architecture and its relation to the contemporary historical city. Gardin coordinated the public programme at Bruges Triennial from 2018 to 2021. She works as a freelance exhibition maker and guest author for publications, including the recently published ‘Beeld van de Stad’ [Image of the City], and also contributes to the operation of BILDNIS_forum voor kunst.
Sevie Tsampalla is an art historian and curator. She studied art history at the University of Athens, cultural studies at the KULeuven and works as a curator in Brussels. She was (assistant-) curator at Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool and S.M.A.K. and initiates urban interventions and group exhibitions in artist-led spaces. She recently completed her PhD in ‘Exhibition Studies’ at Liverpool John Moores University, exploring how biennials learn from "urban commoning", collective practices that can (re)shape public space. Her practice focuses on the interfaces between contemporary art and public space.
Together with the Bruges Triennial team, they will start work on the creation of a fascinating follow-up story, one that is written both for and through the eyes of the city. Further details will be announced in September 2023.
"In selecting Shendy Gardin and Sevie Tsampalla, we are not only guaranteeing continuity in the Bruges Triennial story but also focusing on its evolution and internationalisation. Contemporary art and architecture, the central theme of the event, will be retained and further developed. We are already looking forward to what Bruges Triennial 2024 has in store for us."