Exploring the proliferation of large-scale international recurrent exhibitions of contemporary art across the globe. This talk by Keith Whittle took place within the same year that in the UK, saw the presentation of the Liverpool Biennial, third Folkestone Triennial, and in Japan the fifth Yokohama Triennial and inaugural Sapporo International Art Festival. The latest edition to the growing number of periodic arts projects and international exhibitions of contemporary art, Sapporo triennial joins over 150 such projects currently operating internationally. They often share similar objectives, practices, and considerations, from curatorial and artistic strategies to political and economic agendas. Many of the exhibitions are focused on the encouragement of public engagement, in the local context to create a site of public participation that is not only periodical but also permanent.

Questioning and reflecting on the circumstances that inform recurrent international exhibitions, this talk explored and highlighted some key strands of a number of periodic exhibitions through specific examples informed by research in Japan and the UK. Followed by a panel discussion to further examine issues related to the projects, Keith Whittle was joined by two internationally recognised curators, Yuko Hasegawa and Lewis Biggs, both responsible for curating a number of major exhibitions, including in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and Aichi, Japan respectively, and Koki Tanaka representative artist, Japan Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale and Mark Rappolt, Editor, Art Review.

The talk and discussion explored amongst other questions if these art projects and international exhibitions can expand and democratise access to culture, for a diversified public, creating a meaningful cultural social space for a general public and tourist majority generally less directly engaged with Art?

Talk organised in partnership with and staged at Japan Foundation, London, 2014