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Cologne's urban art festival CityLeaks 2013 to open with a wide array of international stars
Cor5, Living in Contrats, Cologne, Germany, 2013. Photo: Jurgen Naber.

COLOGNE.- With CityLeaks Urban Art Festival’s first edition in September 2011 non-profit associations artrmx e.V. and Colorrevolution e.V. pioneered in artistically transforming the Cologne public space. CityLeaks was thus able to establish itself firmly among urban art events on the international cultural scene.

From 2nd to 22nd September 2013 the biennal festival will go into its second season. More than 30 national and international artists are invited to intervene into the Cologne public space as well as to show their artworks in exhibitions hosted by various galleries and off-locations. Several projects in dance, performance, culture jamming and a flash mob invite people to take an active part in this year’s festival.

A first call for proposals for CityLeaks Interacting Day started on 1st July 2013. Dancers, performance artists and actors/actresses were invited to devise and propose public interventions that were examined and selected by a joint committee of CityLeaks Urban Art Festival and raum13/Kolacek & Leßle.

CityLeaks conceives of artistic interventions into the public space as acts of reclaiming the same. Ultimately, such acts of creative appropriation aim at rendering visible and recontextualizing urban architecture and the city’s social fabric. In doing so, new spaces for communal convention and discourse are created and may well counter a ubiquitous commercialization of the urban space.

Convinced of the transformative powers of art, CityLeaks 2013 again aims at presenting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic positions in and about the public space. This year’s artist line-up will include: ARYZ (ES), Asbjørn Skou (DK), Aya Tarek (EG), Bastardilla (CO), Byram Tunez (BE), Captain Borderline (GER), Cor5 (GER), Dennis Freischlad (GER), Debug Visuals (GER), Diana Artus (GER), Erica il Cane (IT), Hendrick ´ecb´ Beikirch (GER), GAIS (BR), GPO & Alexandros Vasmoulakis (GR), Klangfiguren (GER), Klaus Klinger (GER), Laurent Impeduglia (BE), Low Bros (GER), Mark Jenkins (US), M-City (PL), Majo Brothers (GER), Odo Rumpf (GER), Robert Winter (GER), Sepe & Chazme (PL), Sten Lex (IT), The Wa (FR), TIKA (CH), Urbane Projektions-Guerilla (GER) and Zezao (BR).

On top of that, works by a number of artists presented by cooperating galleries will also be realized within the public space. These artists include: Troy Lovegate (CA), SpY (ES), Rookie (GER), SatOne (GER), Clemens Behr (GER), Boris Hoppek (GER), Decycle (GER), mittenimwald (GER), The Pony (GER) and Octagon (GER).

“CityLeaks Urban Art Festival 2013 seeks to induce public confrontation between the art presented and an as broad and diverse as possible audience,” the festival initiators say. “As discussions concerning several murals in 2011 have proven, we do not shy controversy over the artworks produced and presented during the festival. It is also thus that we try to guarantee artists a maximum of freedom in their creative process and choice of motives.”

Compared to 2011, this year's festival undergoes a significant extension in its curatorial programme, which will not only feature (mural) painting, but also sculpture, performance, dance and video mapping. Apart from the works created and exhibited outdoors a large and diverse programme of guided tours, a symposium, artist talks, film screenings and workshops will complement the festival. Current tendencies in urban art are mapped in shows at several galleries and off-locations just as much as in a large exhibition at the CityLeaks Centre at Marienstraße 73. Next to presenting the artists’ most intriguing engagement with urbanity, all artistic production processes are intended to be made accessible and comprehensible for visitors within an adjoining process room at the festival centre.

Intending to strengthen art in the public space as well as to merge and increase joint interests and forces of various agents on the national and international art scene, CityLeaks cooperates with urban art festivals, galleries, artists and art associations in Cologne, Düsseldorf, the Ruhr area, Hamburg, Zaragoza (ES), Heerlen (NL), Zagreb (HR), Besançon (FR) und Toulouse (FR). “By connecting to these projects and institutions we do not only endorse cultural and artistic exchange, but also want to generate synergies in terms of organization, financing, logistics and artistic content,” the members of CityLeaks project board Margrit Miebach, Iren Tonoian and Georg Barringhaus say.

CityLeaks Urban Art Festival 2013 stands under the aegis of Gabriele Hammelrath. As an SPD Member of Parliament in the NRW Landtag the former head of Cologne’s department of advanced training and deputy chairwoman of Cologne SPD she supports CityLeaks Urban Art Festival’s standing as an international top event in North Rhine-Westphalia and also champions the festival’s vast efforts regarding education and culture.

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