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Bienal de São Paulo announces the full 81 projects and more than 100 participants, totalling around 250 artworks.

31st Bienal de São Paulo

How to talk about things that don’t exist

6 Sep – 7 Dec 2014

Curators: 
Charles Esche, Galit Eilat, Nuria Enguita Mayo, Pablo Lafuente and Oren Sagiv

The focus of the 31st Bienal will be on contemporary conditions and how art projects can engage with and activate histories, individuals and communities today. The Bienal was shaped by a series of talks in different open meetings organized by the curatorial team across Brazil and other cities in Latin America and the world.

The use of the word ‘project’ is intended to create a distance from the traditional idea of an autonomous artwork made in a studio by an artist. By using this word, it is possible to introduce a broader range of contemporary cultural practices and include people working in other disciplines, such as educators, sociologists, architects, performers. The term also serves to encourage collaboration and trans-disciplinary ways of working amongst the Bienal participants. Each project is an independent contribution, but may consist of many artworks by individual or collective authorship. More than half the projects have been made specifically for this Bienal, many by international artists who have produced work in response to a residency in the city and the opportunity to travel further in Brazil.

Architecture: the pavilion divided

A crucial aspect of the 31st Bienal is the way the Ciccillo Matarazzo pavilion is understood as divided into different areas, each with its own architectural logic and particular qualities. The ground floor is called Park, and is connected and opened up to the surrounding landscape, to become a space for reception, events and meetings. The Ramp adapts to the verticality and the circulation of the pavilion’s main access route (the ramp) to create a series of curvaceous spaces linked by a monumental spiral. Here, the artworks and projects are shown without enclosing rooms, and are related to each other both vertically and horizontally. The Columns articulates the largest continuous space of the pavilion on the second floor, dividing it into densities with areas of light and shadow, or sound and silence, that create an interplay of experiences. A small, central area isolates some singular artistic statements and the three different areas from each other.

Facing the present

While the Modern Movement has an affective and vital history in Brazil, it is no longer representative of a living present. Therefore the aesthetic criteria of modernism and the striving towards progress are not prominent in the 31st Bienal. While some projects will reference the period, in most cases the modern is simply not a force that is at stake for the artists’ research and work. This approach to the recent past means that a different hierarchy of sources and inspirations can be established, one that recognizes the possibilities in the pre-modern and the non-modern, or in the spiritual and popular culture, to offer different readings of contemporary conditions. It also means that the influence of collective imagination, social activism and political conflict is as significant as the heritage of artisticpractice to the artists in the 31st Bienal.

List of artists and projects

  • Agnieszka PiksaIt’s Just the Spin of Inner Life
  • Alejandra Riera and UEINZZ“… – MUTE – OHPERA – ... ”
  • Ana LiraVote!
  • Anna Boghiguian • Cities by the River
  • Archivo F.X. / Pedro G. RomeroThe Modern School
  • Armando Queiroz with Almires Martins and Marcelo RodriguesYmá Nhandehetama 
  • Arthur ScovinoHouse of Caboclo
  • Asger Jorn10,000 Years of Nordic Folk Art
  • Asier MendizabalAgoramaquia (The Exact Case of the Statue)
  • Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-RahmeThe Incidental Insurgents
  • Bik Van der PolTurning a Blind Eye
  • Bruno PachecoMeeting Point and other works
  • Chto DelatThe Excluded. In a moment of danger
  • Clara Ianni and Débora Maria da SilvaPlea
  • Dan PerjovschiWall, Work, Workshop. The São Paulo Drawing
  • Danica DakićHeaven / El Dorado / Vila Maria
  • Éder OliveiraUntitled
  • Edward KrasińskiSpear and other works
  • El Hadji SyMarine Archaeology
  • Erick BeltránDouble Goer
  • Etcétera… and León FerrariErring from God
  • Gabriel MascaroIt Is Not About Shoes
  • Giuseppe CampuzanoLife’s Timeline / Transvestite Museum of Peru
  • Graziela KunschFare Free Bus  • with Lilian L’Abbate Kelian Urbânia 5 Magazine
  • Gülsün KaramustafaIllustrated History / The Settler
  • Halil Altındere Wonderland
  • Hudinilson Jr.Tension Zone
  • Imogen Stidworthy • Balayer – A Map of Sweeping
  • Ines Doujak and John BarkerLoomshuttles, Warpaths
  • Jakob Jakobsen and María BerríosThe Revolution Must Be a School of Unfettered Thought
  • Jo BaerIn the Land of the Giants and other works
  • Johanna CalleImponderables / Perimeters
  • Jonas StaalNosso Lar, Brasília
  • Juan Carlos RomeroViolence
  • Juan DowneyThe Abandoned Shabono / Video Trans Americas
  • Juan Pérez AgirregoikoaDead Letter
  • Kasper Akhøj and Tamar GuimarãesCaptain Gervásio’s Family
  • Lázaro SaavedraUnder Pressure
  • Leigh OrpazBreakfast
  • Lia PerjovschiA Research
  • Mapa Teatro – Laboratorio de artistasThe Uncounted: A Triptych
  • Mark LewisInvention
  • Marta NevesNo-Ideas
  • Michael Kessus GedalyovichThe Name Giver / The Placebo Scroll
  • Mujeres CreandoSpace to Abort
  • Nahum Zenil / Ocaña / Sergio Zevallos / Yeguas del Apocalipsis (Organized by Miguel A. López)God is Queer
  • Nilbar GüreşOpen Phone Booth / Black Series / TrabZONE and other works
  • Nurit SharettCounting the Stars
  • Otobong NkangaLandversation
  • Prabhakar PachputeDark Clouds of the Future
  • Qiu ZhijieMap
  • Romy PocztarukThe Last Adventure
  • ruangrupaRURU
  • Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti and Grupo ContrafiléMujawara
  • Sheela GowdaThose of Whom
  • Teatro da VertigemThe Last Word Is the Penultimate One – 2
  • Teresa LancetaBert Flint / Granada / Handira
  • Thiago Martins de MeloMartyrdom
  • Tiago Borges and YonamineAfroUFO
  • Tony ChakarOne Hundred Thousand Solitudes / Of Other Worlds That Are on This One
  • Val del OmarWater-Mirror of Granada / Fire in Castile
  • Virginia de MedeirosSergio and Simone 
  • Vivian SuterUntitled
  • Voluspa JarpaLearning Histories
  • Walid RaadLetters to the Reader (1864, 1877, 1916, 1923)
  • Wilhelm SasnalCapital 
  • Yael BartanaHell
  • Yuri FirmezaThe Fortress / Nothing Is
  • Yochai AvrahamiSmall World

Image: Alex Barcellos, Narra Várzea e Marco Pezão, Sarau A Plenos Pulmões. Courtesy Bienal de São Paulo