Museum Rijswijk PAPIER BIENNALE 2022 – Transition

26th June – 13th November.

The Paper Biennale 2022 Transition is an international exhibition with 20 artists of contemporary visual art in which paper plays the leading role. At the same time, the emphasis is on the visual and substantive quality of the works.

The theme of this edition is Transition. We live in a time of change. There is talk of a paradigm shift. The resistance in society is increasing and that is certainly not only corona related. Change is in the air, but we don’t know where it’s headed yet.

At the beginning of this century, it seemed that the way we lived would go on indefinitely, as Geert Mak wrote in his book Great Expectations: “It started so grandly. Just like at the start of the 20th century, the start of the 21st century was a great triumph. The Cold War was over, the stock markets were dancing, the champagne was not sold per bottle but per box, the national daily De Telegraaf honked it around, that Friday December 31st, from every newsstand: ‘It’s impossible!’

It is virtually impossible to write history about one’s own time, it is certainly impossible to draw conclusions. But one thing is clear now, 20 years later after De Telegraaf headlined so optimistically: it is definitely possible! But the euphoria is still there, even after the crises of 2008 and 2012, and the inevitable pandemic with all its restrictions for the time being. It’s hard to let go of the highs and accept the lows. It is even more difficult to accept irreversible changes and to recognize that the world and society are continuously subject to change, sometimes for the better, but sometimes also to the detriment of prosperity, well-being and the world we cannot live without.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by major changes due to mechanization and motorization; airplanes, telephone, tram, sewing machine, camera, locomotive, tank and the car brought about the most far-reaching changes ever accomplished in a short space of time. Growth, growth, growth was the motto then and still is today. The basic premise of the economic system has been fully focused on growth for several centuries. But what began so optimistically in the last century is now in danger of succumbing to its own success, at least the success of the Western world.We had already been warned by the Limits to Growth report published by the Club of Rome in 1973. The seriousness of that warning is becoming increasingly clear, one after the other climate conference is trying to come up with agreements that can turn the tide. But an economy based on growth cannot go hand in hand with international agreements about greatly reducing the impact that humans have on nature and the climate. Or is it?Will humans be able to overcome the resistance of change and develop an adapted way of living and consuming with optimism from possibilities? These questions were presented to the artists in Open Call in order to respond to them with their work. Nearly 400 artists submitted proposals, from which a choice was made in which several aspects of transition are discussed in the exhibition.