"Economy of Means": 25th Gabrovo Biennial

Museum of Humor and Satire, Gabrovo / Bulgaria

May 20–September 30, 2022
January 7, 2022
Submission deadline: January 17

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The world has been running on steroids. Nature is privatized and cheapened. Our voracious extraction and consumption of resources have created an ecological debt gone default. Acceleration and gigantism have shaped a metabolic cycle between capital and nature, North and South, rich and poor, clean and polluted, with greed and hypertrophy on one end and exhaustion on the other. There is a global freak show going on, a spectacle of disproportion and deformation reminiscent of those 19th century displays of deformed humans and animals. Only this time it happens on a planetary scale and we’re all in it. At times, it seems as if  the vicious comedy of the freak show might be the appropriate response  to our present-day monstrosity. 

Can the planetary imaginary be refueled with humor, satire and conviviality? Be it to figure out how to go through collapse as humanly as possible, or to reconsider how much is enough and what constitutes good living. "Economy of Means" as a biennial theme stands for a shift towards caring and maintenance instead of show business; for looking into society, but also looking at art, its modes of production and means of expression, where brief, economical and simple are part of the punchline delivery. 

Climate anxiety was nominated as one of top ten words of 2021. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Artist Agnes Denes once said that creativity is hope. At a moment of global dysphoria, gestures and efforts that point towards the humanization of the world might be what helps us get out of bed day after day (a simple pandemic takeaway.) Once awake, the possible actions and responses are endless.

The pandemic put the care paradigm on the agenda. It also made visible the link between social inequalities and wealth concentration and reiterated that addressing security, economy, ecology is futile without the prefix socio-. “Social or ecological” is not an antinomy and social issues should not make an excuse for economic reactivation based on more of the same. 

Solidarity between humans is not enough. What is needed is solidarity between humans and non-humans. And it might be just about time to figure out if plants laugh and what jokes clouds tell.

The 25th Gabrovo Biennial of Humor and Satire in Art expects your meaningful contribution (within means) by January 17, midnight CET.

The Biennial consists of two juried shows—one for cartoons and one for contemporary art—and a third exhibition curated by the artist Olav Westphalen, titled Sensitivity Training. It will open on May 20, 2022 at the Museum of Humor and Satire in Gabrovo. The exhibitions continue until September 30, 2022.

The Biennial is organized by the Museum of Humor and Satire with the support of the Municipality of Gabrovo and the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture.


Prizes for contemporary art
Golden Aesop Grand Prix in section contemporary art:  5,000 euro 
Prize of the town of Gabrovo awarded to a promising young artist: 2,500 euro
Jury members: Diana Campbell Betancourt, Luca Lo Pinto, Yung Ma.

Prizes for cartoons
Golden Aesop Grand Prix in section cartoons: 2,500 euro 
Prize for cartoon: 1,500 euro 
Jury members: Alla Georgieva, Anne Derenne, Antonio Antunes, Niels Bo Bojesen, Rayma Suprani.

The prize winning works remain in the collection of the Museum of Humour and Satire. 

Estimated time needed to fill in the application form (after short description and images are prepared): five minutes.

When preparing your application, keep in mind that the jury will judge your work by: artistic merit, engagement with the biennial theme "Economy of Means," and humor.

All three criteria are essential.