The 10th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has announced its roster of exhibiting artists.

10th Mercosul Biennial

Messages from a New America
October 8–November 22, 2015

Chief Curator: Gaudêncio Fidelis
Assistant Curators: Ana Zavadil (BR), Fernando Davis (AR), Ramón Castillo Inostroza (CH) and Raphael Fonseca (BR)

The participating artists were revealed at a press conference on July 29 by the biennial’s Chief Curator, art historian Gaudêncio Fidelis, and joined by José Antonio Fernandes Martins, an entrepreneur and art collector serving as the President of the Biennial, as well as the team of curators including Adjunct Curator Márcio Tavares (BR); Assistant Curators Ana Zavadil (BR), Fernando Davis (AR), Ramón Castillo Inostroza (CH) and Raphael Fonseca (BR). The team also includes Educational Curator Cristián G. Gallegos (CH).

The 10th Mercosul Biennial curatorial project is titled Messages From a New America and focuses only on the art of Latin America, reigniting the initial mission expressed by Frederico Moraes, curator of the 1st Biennial, to “re-write the history of Latin American art from a non-Eurocentric perspective.” More than 20 years later, the Biennial has deeply reevaluated its political perspective by reconsidering the role it plays in the context of hundreds of Biennials existing today around the world. In order to make a more significant contribution to the field of exhibitions, especially those concerning the art of Latin America and including, but not limited to, its reception and legibility, the 10th exhibition brings to the forefront an extensive group of works  representing the immense artistic contribution of the entire region.

With this innovative approach, the 10th Biennial exhibition includes more than 800 works of art that span from the early 18th century to the contemporary, carefully chosen by the curators to avoid the traditional model of Biennials that tends to prioritize national representation and new commissions over specific artworks. In addition to realigning some canonical works and adjusting their historical context, the exhibition seeks to point to a number of “blind spots” in art history that have been neglected by historiography, criticism and the many curatorial endeavors related to Latin American art. The 10th Biennial also reconsiders critical perspectives on the history of exhibitions of the artistic production of Latin America, as well as a reevaluation of traditional curatorial models of large-scale exhibitions.

“This Biennial goes against the grain by employing a radically different model for large-scale exhibitions,” Mr. Fidelis said. “It also makes a political gesture by bringing together historical and contemporary works that would never have been considered affiliated by any means, challenging notions of canonicity, cultural hierarchy and historical priority. It will be a unique opportunity to see works that have never been together or connected by any means. It’s a one-time-only opportunity to see these works side by side in one single exhibition; they will probably never meet each other again due to the challenges of cultural diplomacy, conservation issues and logistics. This Biennial is the result of a collaboration of hundreds of museums, collectors, gallerists, individuals and other institutions that generously lent works to make an exhibition that otherwise would not have been possible.”

The 10th Biennial is conceived around four major conceptual fields over seven exhibitions dealing with several aspects of Latin American art. Those fields and exhibitions include: The Journey of Adversity (exhibitions on this section are: The Biography of Urban Life and Modernism in Parallax); The Insurgence of the Senses (exhibitions are: Neobaroque Anthropophagy, Olfactory: Smell in Art andBody Apparatuses); The Undeleting of the Tropics (exhibitions are: Dust and the World of Objects andMarginália of Form); and The Journey Continues (including the Experimental School of Curating and the Educational Project).

The Biennial is organized by Fundação Bienal do Mercosul, a private non-profit organization in Brazil. Its mission is to develop cultural and educational projects in the field of visual arts, encouraging dialogues between contemporary artists and communities.

For the list of participating artists click here.

Image: Moises Barrios (Cidade da Guatemala-Guatemala, 1946), Proyecto…La colección de arte latinoamericano de Mr. Taylor (1998 – 2006). Collection of the artist. Courtesy Mercosul Biennial.

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