The 2nd Johannesburg Biennale - Trades Routes: History and Geography: Alternating Currents

Dates: 12 October – 12 December 1997
Venue: Johannesburg, South Africa
Artistic Director: Okwui Enwezor
Curators: Yu Yeon Kim, Kellie Jones, Gerardo Mosquera, Hou Hanru, Octavio Zaya and Colin Richards

The 2nd and final Johannesburg Biennale titled Trades Routes: History and Geography: Alternating Currents took place in 1997 under the artistic direction of Okwui Enwezor, who at the time had been appointed as the curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. The biennale differed in structure to its 1995 predecessor. It was composed of a series of exhibitions with 6 international curators.

The main exhibition Alternating Currents was co-curated by Okwui Enwezor and Octavio Zaya, and included the responses of 80 artists to broad concepts such as postmodernism, postcolonialism, post-nationalism, globalization and migration. The show shared work by well-known artists such as Gabriel Orozco, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Beat Streuli, Sam Taylor-Wood, Shirin Neshat, Stan Douglas, Rhona Pondick, Ghada Amer and Eugenio Dittborn. It also provided an international platform for South African artists including Penny Siopis, Santu Mofokeng, Sue Williamson, Andries Botha, Malcolm Payne and Wayne Barker. Other exhibitions included Graft curated by Colin Richards, Life’s Little Necessities curated by Kellie Jones, Important Exportant curated by Gerardo Mosquera, Transversions curated by Yu Yeon Kim and Hong Kong, etc. curated by Hou Hanru.

2nd Johannesburg Biennale poster