The Crack Begins Within

5 September – 1 November 2020

Curators:
María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, Agustín Pérez Rubio

More than 75 participants

The 11th Berlin Biennale is curated by María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, and Agustín Pérez Rubio (see the biographies). The members of this intergenerational, female identified team of South American curators proposed the Berlin Biennale as a series of lived experiences that unfolded from September 2019 to July 2020. The epilogue exhibition The Crack Begins Within brings together these experiences at four Berlin venues from 5 September – 1 November 2020. “The epilogue is an exercise of mutual recognition, an acknowledgement of the cracks in the system, of those broken by it and their struggles. As the carceral politics of compartmentalization are cracked open, art will not disappear into nothingness, but flow into everything. The Crack Begins Within is a nod to the solidarity in vulnerability of the healers and carers, the fighters, their fractures, and their power.”

Curatorial Concept and Chapters

By María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado and Agustín Pérez Rubio

The Crack Begins Within

The slow opening of the 11th Berlin Biennale began a year ago, and since then it has been exploring the many cracks we carry, the fissures that keep us apart and those that bring us together. Many of the invited artists and participants in the Biennale have been exploring and practicing this, each in their own artistic terms, in their own contexts and temporalities. Making space to share these experiences demanded that we slow down the unsustainable pace of biennials and forgo the expectation of a singular concept, a novel idea to once again fix things into place. When the coronavirus pandemic hit the European fortress several months ago, it felt for a moment that the earth wanted to stand still. The virus exposed the cruelty of everyday life and the inequality endured by the vast majority of people imprisoned by patriarchal capitalism. As we write, many of those whose works are present in the exhibition are in the South and continue living under lockdown, in places where professional healthcare is a luxury, safeguarding only the privileged.

“The crack begins within” are words borrowed from poet Iman Mersal. She explores the many ghosts of motherhood, tearing apart its contemporary morals. She begins with the refusal to become the sacrificed, the “egg that the newborn breaks en route to life.” She rummages in the crevices of this dissent, exploring the many ways that within all the brokenness the mother and child carry, there is pain and beauty, mourning and living. As the epilogue of the Biennale The Crack Begins Within calls out the fallacy of claiming for oneself the destruction of the old and the birthing of the new, refloated so many times by the white fathers as a new scaffolding to secure the continuity of their decaying structures. This is the violence that surrounds us, and that we are a part of.

The Crack Begins Within comprises the overlapping experiences of the artworks gathered here, breathing together, touching and moving one another. It is a testament to the powerful collective stories they tell, the work they do, and the things they shatter. The epilogue is an exercise of mutual recognition, an acknowledgement of the cracks in the system, of those broken by it and their struggles. As the carceral politics of compartmentalization are cracked open, art will not disappear into nothingness, but flow into everything. The Crack Begins Within is a nod to the solidarity in vulnerability of the healers and carers, the fighters, their fractures, and their power.