The International Biennial of Drawing Pilsen has become a tradition in Pilsen, the Czech Republic as well as Europe. It is held in Pilsen every even year. It originated in 1996 on the initiative of the Union of Fine Artists of Pilsen Area. Since its origin the City of Pilsen has been its second main organizer. The first year included only artists who were citizens of the Czech Republic. 94 authors participated in the contest, displaying 824 works. From the the second year onwards the contest has been open to visual artists from Central European countries. Their inclusion is meant to illustrate the unity of visual art in this region and its link to European culture.
The first Central European Biennial of Drawing took place in October and November 1998, boasting the participation of 198 artists with 621 drawings. The second Central European Biennial of Drawing was held in November 2000 with the participation of 216 artists who had sent 863 drawings. Finally, the third Central European Biennial was opened in October 2002 with the participation of 216 authors, displaying 844 drawings. It is worth mentioning that 45% authors from abroad took part in this year.
The basis of the project for the year 2004 is the IV. International Biennial of Drawing Pilsen 2004. In view of the very good experience with the previous three Central European Biennials (1998, 2000, 2002), the organizers have decided to hold the biennial for authors from all European as well as non-European countries, regardless of their age or nationality.
To prevent the project from being limited to presentation – albeit very extensive – in the Czech Republic only, the organizers intend to devote the second part of the project to exhibitions presenting the best works of the Biennial abroad. These exhibitions will be organized together with visual art organizations of individual countries and organizers of the Biennial of Drawing Pilsen. Exhibitions in Poland, Slovakia, Husary and Italy are already being negotiated. We consider the possibility of holding these exhibitions as not only high-quality representation of the Biennial but also as one of the most significant opportunities to present the City of Pilsen as a supporter of visual art.
The conditions of the contest remain – except for small details – unchanged. The basic requirement is the submission of at lest five drawings, created over the last five years, one-coloured, of maximum A1 size. A catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition, containing works of all authors chosen by the international jury to participate in the exposition.
The organization and promotion of the Biennial boasts significant co-operation of both the The International Association of Art – Europe IAA/AIAP and a series of national committees of visual art organizations worldwide. In February 2004, Pilsen held the convention of representatives of these organizations from EU as well as all Visegrád countries. The agenda of the convention included, among others, the appointment of the members of the Biennial´s international jury and the promotion of the Biennial in individual countries.
The results of this negotiation have already had a considerable impact on this year of the Biennial.
The Biennial is held under the auspices of the Czech Commitee for UNESCO and The International Association of Art- Europe IAA/AIAP. This year, 377 authors have sent their works, from the Czech Republic and practically all Europe, including Island, Cyprus and Lithuania, but also from the USA and Japan. The total number amounts to 1550 drawings. Two thirds of the contributions are from abroad
In 7. – 9. September 2004 the international jury held a meeting in Pilsen, selecting 254 drawings which will be displayed in 5 exhibition halls in Pilsen. The jury awarded the Grand Prize of this year; 22 authors received the Honorary Certificate of the Highest Quality.