The 8th Mercosul Biennial is set to take place in Porto Alegre from September to November 2011.

José Roca. Photo by Adriana Hurtado

José Roca believes that the Mercosul Biennial has had from the outset a Latin American vocation and an international profile that needs to be consolidated. “If we consider the Biennial as along- term project of cultural policy, it is logical that its positioning strategy has so far been from the outside inwards. Having achieved this international position, we have reached the right moment for intensifying the relationship with the local, particularly the Brazilian scene, of Rio Grande do Sul and Porto Alegre,” stated Roca.

The curatorial proposal he has devised for the 8th edition of the event aims to address territoriality from geographical, political and cultural perspectives, and will include notions of locality, territory, mapping and frontier, the Mercosul as a geopolitical construct, the supranational organisations of the region and the city of Porto Alegre as a place to be discovered and activated through art.

José Roca, was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 1962. He graduated in architecture (Universidad Nacional de Colombia), specialised in Critical Studies (Whitney Independent Study Program, New York) and holds a master’s degree in the Design and Administration of Cultural Buildings (Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Villemin, Paris). He is 47 years old and works in Bogotá (Colombia) and Philadelphia (USA).

He ran the artistic programme at the Banco de La República, Bogotá, for ten years and transformed it into one of the most respected institutions on the Latin American circuit.

Roca was co-curator of the 1st Poli/grafica Triennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2004), the 27th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2006), the Encuentro de Medellín MDE07 (2007) and Cart[ajena], a series of urban interventions in Cartagena, Colombia (2007). He was a jury member for the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007).

Also in 2011, Roca will be heading the curation of an exhibition of the Rio Grande do Sul artist Regina Silveira at the Iberê Camargo Foundation, in Porto Alegre/RS. Other recent curatorial projects include: Muntadas: Mecanismos da Imagem, to be shown in 2010 at Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil; Välparaíso, a series of interventions in Valparaíso, Chile (2010); Otras Floras, at Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo, Brazil (2008); Phantasmagoria: Espectros da Ausência, a touring exhibition organised by iCI and the Museo de Arte del Banco de la República (2007-2009); Botánica Política, at the Sala Montcada, La Caixa in Barcelona, Spain (2004) and Traces of Friday: art, tourism, displacement, at ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, USA (2003). He is currently artistic director of Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious – a festival of contemporary graphic art taking place in various exhibition spaces in Philadelphia.

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