With each edition, the Bienal de São Paulo tries to introduce new ways of thinking about the event. If, in past decades, part of the puzzle consisted of attracting star artists from the international market, today the challenge is to create innovative concepts.

In this edition, everything will be done from an alternative “operating system”, according to the general curator, the Spaniard Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro. The show is organized with twelve individual projects, in addition to group shows created by seven artists – curators.

The idea is not new, it has already been tried, in another version, by the critic, historian and curator, Walter Zanini, at the same Bienal de São Paulo, in 1981. The difference is that this time the participation of artist-curators is more explicit and methodical.

By choosing artists interested in their own creative contexts, Pérez – Barreiro avoids arranging the exhibition by sections, vectors or any other denomination and embarks on a multiple curatorial experience. A variant of this format also worked at the Paris Youth Biennial, in 1969, conducted by Jacques Lassaigne, conceived under the sign of communes with teamwork and collective works, which emerged in the wake of May 1968, which mimicked the general curator's work. In addition to the collaboration of the artists in the curatorship, the participation in the French event included Frank Popper and his Spectator's Workshop, where all visitors also became curators, giving the Bienal Jovens de Paris a strong experimental sense. Unfortunately the French show closed its doors in 1985.

The theme of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo, affective affinities is taken from Goethe's book, Elective Affinities, from 1809 and also refers to the thesis On the Affective Nature of Form in the Work of Art, 1949, by the critic Mario Pedrosa.

The chosen artists, with projects commissioned by the exhibition, range from Tamar Guimarães to Vânia Mignone, passing by Alejandro Corujeira, Bruno Moreschi, Denise Milan, Luiza Crosman, Maria Laet, Nelson Felix. Biennials like to rescue works related to a controversial social political fact. The work of the moment is by Siron Franco, one of the recurring names of the Bienal, who returns for the seventh time to Ibirapuera, now with the controversial Cesium/57th Street, about the environmental accident, which happened in Goiás with hundreds of victims, all contaminated by the radiation emitted by a capsule with cesium-137.

Among the exhibitions / tributes are those of the Guatemalan Aníbal López, the Paraguayan Feliciano Centurión and the Brazilian Lúcia Nogueira, resident in the United Kingdom.

With collaborative insight, this edition invites artist-curators working together for the first time. In addition to the twelve individual projects, they are responsible for group exhibitions. Alejandro Cesarco  focuses on artists working on translation and imaging; Antonio Ballester Moreno proposes a dialogue of his work with references on the history of abstraction and its relationship with nature, pedagogy and spirituality; Claudia Fontes activates questions involving relationships between art and narrative; Mamma Andersson reflects on figuration in the tradition of painting, from popular art to contemporary art; Sofia borges prepares research on tragedy and ambiguous form; Walter Caldas develops historical reflection on form and abstraction and Wura-Natasha Ogunji brings together artists who work closely and share questions about identity and the African diaspora. Alvaro Razuk (architecture), Lilian L'Abbate Kelian and Helena Freire Weffort (educational), Fabiana Werneck (editorial) and Raul Loureiro (visual identity) also make up the team for the 33rd Bienal.

The 33rd Bienal de São Paulo can be seen from September 7 to December 9, 2018, at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, in Ibirapuera Park.

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