Adam Nankervis and David Medalla Masks, Mirages, and the Morphic Mirror, Photo: Daniel Kupferberg, Another Vacant Space, Berlin, 2014    



The London Biennale¬†project was founded in 1998 by David Medalla, a Filipino conceptual artist based in London, who assigns the theme for each year’s biennale. The event aims to challenge and transform the notion of the art world ‘biennale’ as a large state or corporate-sponsored event with artists selected by curators based on their geographical location, citizenship, nationality, race and ethnicity by throwing open borders and encouraging a more intimate and community-based dialogue between the artists and audiences. Over the years, the London Biennale has expanded with simultaneous satellite events taking place in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Berlin, New York, Boston and Las Vegas

In Manila in July of 2019, David Medalla and Adam Nankervis(LB International Co-ordinator) sat and spoke through the theme of the 2020 London Biennale. Its theme, its installations, locations and global pollinations.

Using the mask as theme, the mirage, the morphic mirror, we were obviously unaware of the pandemic we are now living. Medalla pointed to a poem of Walt Whitman, from' The Leaves of Grass' to be the theme that would mark the proposal for this years untimely and absurd
prophetic concurrence with the global pandemic, OUT FROM BEHIND THIS MASK. (To Confront a Portrait.) W.Whitman 1892. (See poem below)

We were furthermore inspired later in the year, of the civil actions of protests of populations globally and the stories that may lay behind the mask. From tribal, to celabratory, performative, to shield, camouflouge and disguise.

In light of the current situation, we encouraged artists to send artworks of their masks with a description: the whys, the necessities, the fable, the introspection of each manifest to be put online as a virtual home.

These works, these odes to a political or the current health pandemic, a pre-existing ID of identity, or desire of self change, internally or an altered guise, an individuals choice to create non-identity or amplified identity, or joyous or apocalyptic manifests will be video beamed on sites world wide with accompanying texts, and if physical manifests can be sent, the masks will find home in diffrent locationsof the world, within the walls of galleries, or spaces yet determined with accompanying texts.

A website for this project can be view here: and will include past biennales from 2000 onward. We appreciate the thousands of artists that have participated over the years.

With our warmest wishes to all, the participants, and non- partcipants alike, please stay safe.

David Medalla and Adam Nankervis
London Biennale 2020 / Berlin and Manila

OUT FROM BEHIND THIS MASK. (To Confront a Portrait.)

OUT from behind this bending rough-cut mask,
These lights and shades, this drama of the whole,
This common curtain of the face contain'd in me for me, in you
for you, in each for each,
(Tragedies, sorrows, laughter, tears-O heaven!
The passionate teeming plays this curtain hid!)
This glaze of God's serenest purest sky,
This film of Satan's seething pit,
This heart's geography's map, this limitless small continent, this soundless sea;
Out from the convolutions of this globe,
This subtler astronomic orb than sun or moon, than Jupiter, Venus, Mars,
This condensation of the universe, (nay here the only universe,
Here the idea, all in this mystic handful wrapt;)
These burin'd eyes, flashing to you to pass to future time,
To launch and spin through space revolving sideling, from these to emanate,
To you whoe'er you are-a look.

A traveler of thoughts and years, of peace and war,
Of youth long sped and middle age declining,
(As the first volume of a tale perused and laid away, and this the second,
Songs, ventures, speculations, presently to close,)
Lingering a moment here and now, to you I opposite turn,
As on the road or at some crevice door by chance, or open'd window,
Pausing, inclining, baring my head, you specially I greet,
To draw and clinch your soul for once inseparably with mine,
Then travel travel on.

Walt Whitman 1892.


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