EDGE 88 is a major new event in the calendar of international contemporary arts festivals. It will be Britain's first Biennale presenting artists working on the experimental edge of the visual arts. Edge 88 will bring together an unprecedented concentration of international artists and celebrate their work in live and experimental media. Curated by Rob La Frenais, it will take place in London 13-25 September 1988.
Fifteen artists from Australia, Austria, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United States and West Germany will present work alongside that of ten British artists. Many of the artists will be appearing in Britain for the first time and touring to other cities, including Newcastle and Manchester and others will be presenting entirely new performances and installations.
Innovative British art has suffered in the past from isolation, with foreign artists rarely appearing here and only a small number of British artists presenting work abroad. Edge 88 aims to establish an international context for experimental work in Britain for the first time.
It is acknowledged that mainstream art, design, film, television and advertising are fuelled by the engine of experiment at ground level. Work in performance, installation and other experimental forms has been a prime source of creative energy in the arts. Debates about the end, or rebirth of modernism and the role of the object and form have led to a new pluralism in the visual arts, which will be both celebrated and questioned in Edge 88. The use of the body in art, the development of women's performance, artists' use of advanced technology and large-scale spectacle are among the areas which will be explored in the Biennale.
Edge 88 will be an intensive series of daily events over a two-week period, in a variety of locations all within one square quarter-mile in London's Clerkenwell. Performances, installations, site-specific sculpture will be presented in a number of unusual spaces: an art-deco swimming-pool, a cloistered garden, a converted slaughterhouse, an adventure playground, and in the Air Gallery and other galleries in the area.
A two-day series of conferences, 'International Perspectives in Experiment', will complement the live events. The conferences will cover three areas: 'Is Experiment Eurocentric', 'Who Moves the Art?' and 'The Role of the Body'.
'The Observatory', an international festival of video art, has been co-ordinated by Jeremy Welsh and will be presented in Clerkenwell for the two weeks of the Biennale by Edge 88 in association with the Film and Video Umbrella.
Edge 88 will be accompanied by a catalogue edited by Marjorie Althorpe-Guyton, with essays by Steven Durland, Silvia Eibelmeyer, Chrissie lies, Jonathan Watkins and Gray Watson.