London Biennale

David Medalla: Founder and Director
Adam Nankervis: International Co-ordinator

Masks, Mirages, and the Morphic Mirror

London Biennale 2020

May 1 - December 31

(please scroll)

inspired by

(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,
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
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 win-
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.

Masks, Mirages, and the Morphic Mirror
London Biennale 2020

In Manila in July of 2019, David Medalla and I sat and spoke through the theme of the 2020 London Biennale. Its theme, its installations, locations, global pollinations.

Using the mask as theme, the mirage, the morphic mirror, we were obviously unaware of the pandemic we are now living. David 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.

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 are encouraging artists, to send images of their masks with a decription of their masks, the whys, the necessities, the fable, the introspection of each manifest to be put online as a virtual home. The artist or participant can author their work or remain anonymous if politically sensitive.

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 locations of the world, within the walls of galleries, or spaces yet determined with accompanying texts.

We are currently in the final stages of building a website for this project, and hopefully will also be able to include manifest of past biennales from 2000 on. This is now the tenth London Biennale. We appreciate so much the thousands of artists that have participated over the years.

Please send your photographic submissions to
If you have images texts or invitaions of past participation please also send to
We dedicate this London Biennale 2020 manifest to all front line workers during this current pandemic of 2020, protesters of human rights and justice, prisoners of conscience, fellow artists and the art loving public.

In great admiration and gratitude of and for all.

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

David Medalla and Adam Nankervis
London Biennale 2020

Berlin/ Manila

with many thanks to Daniel Kupferberg for construction of the website

photo- David Medalla and Adam Nankervis
Masks, Mirages, and the Morphic Mirror
Daniel Kupferberg, avs. 2014