lesbian sauna
Lesbian sauna, Malu Avelar, 2019

With works by three self-declared trans and transvestite artists (from Rio de Janeiro Tadáskía, from Espírito Santo Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro and from Bahia Ventura Fortuna), three non-binary artists (Indian Tejal Shah, Berlin duo Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz and Indonesian-Pernambucan Daniel Lie), the living inventory of a transgender collective in Argentina (El Archivo de la Memoria Trans) and an investigation into the performance record of the most remote non-indigenous Brazilian transvestite (Xica Manicongo, in the XNUMXth century), the 35th São Paulo Biennial has almost 10% of its roster of artists made up of the so-called sex dissidents.

The exhibition proposes to present dozens of works, pieces, representations and installations that seek the historical presence, the conceptual debate and the queer protagonism in contemporary times, basing its new edition, which begins on September 6, on the trinomial female body, gender and blackness in a radical way, in addition to intensifying the dialogue with the production of native peoples. With the title choreographies of the impossible, the 35th Bienal will feature works by 119 artists, selected by the curatorial collective formed by Diane Lima, Kilomba Grada, Hélio Menezes and Manuel Borja-Villel.

Unholy Ventura, Resplendent, 2019
Profane Ventura, Resplendent, 2019. Video 5'20''. Achievement: Ventura Profana, Power Off, Queen F.,
Davi de Jesus do Nascimento, Davi Nascimento, Vedroso, Antoine Golay and Carlos Queirozi

Three pioneering representations of black women are based on historical evocation, with Xica Manicongo (died in 1591), Aurora Cursino dos Santos (1896-1959) and Stella do Patrocínio (1941-1992). Black women of the past, who experienced the violence of exclusion and prejudice in its cruelest form.

Xica Manicongo was an enslaved person who lived in Salvador, Bahia, and worked as a shoemaker in Cidade Baixa, according to official Portuguese documents. Accused of belonging to a “gang of sodomite sorcerers”, Xica was condemned by the Holy Office to be burned alive in a public square and have her descendants disgraced up to the third generation. Like Galileo, she was forced to deny her trans status and dress and behave like a man of the time in order to survive.

The painter Aurora Cursino dos Santos (1896-1959) worked as a prostitute and spent 15 years in the Juquery Psychiatric Complex, in São Paulo. In this asylum, she Aurora was subjected to electroshock and, shortly before her death, in 1955, she was lobotomized. Her refuge from psychiatric hell was art. She painted around 200 paintings, now recognized as a treasure of painting and already exhibited in exhibitions at the São Paulo Museum of Art (Masp), at the Bienal de São Paulo itself and at the Bienal de Berlin, Germany.

Stella do Patrocínio (1941-1992) was a poet from Rio de Janeiro who worked as a maid and, when she died, was buried as an indigent. Her saga is amazing: at the age of 21, when she lived in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, she was approached by a police car when trying to board a bus heading to Central do Brasil. The police took her to an emergency room, from where she was sent to the Pedro II Psychiatric Center, in Engenho de Dentro. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, she was involuntarily institutionalized for the rest of her life.

Inaicyra Falcão
Inaicyra Falcão, Ayán, vibrant principle

From this historical “building”, comes to settle the representation that introduces the emergence and assertiveness of the brand new trans artists, like Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, also a writer and psychologist, only 27 years old, who was born in a quilombo, Morro da Fonte Grande, graduated from the Federal University of Espírito Santo and completed a master's degree in the Clinical Psychology program at PUC São Paulo. She studies African-based spiritualities and seeks to emphasize, in her work, ancestral culture from a decolonial perspective.

Tadáskía, a 30-year-old artist from Rio de Janeiro, who works with drawing, photography, installation and textile languages, and Ventura Fortuna, also 30, a visual artist, performer, singer, writer and transgender composer from Catu, in the interior of the Bahia (she is also a missionary pastor and evangelist singer), which brings the debate alive on the influence of neo-Pentecostal churches in everyday life.

In the field of dance, researcher and choreographer Inaicyra Falcão dos Santos, 68, promotes a rescue of dances from Yoruba cultures. “Our past, interspersed with so many diasporas, demands other ways of narrating our stories”, says Inaicyra. “Articulating worlds is an ethical, aesthetic and radical gesture”.

Daughter of Mestre Didi (1917-2013), legendary writer, artist and priest, and granddaughter of Mãe Senhora, Ialorixá of candomblé́, Inaicyra is a lyrical singer, doctor and researcher of Afro-Brazilian traditions in education and performing arts, working at Unicamp .

Brazilian Castiel Vitorino
Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, without
title, series If memory was a place
[If memory were a place]. Charcoal and watercolor drawings
DJ, percussionist and producer Marta Supernova, 29 years old (partner of global actress Bruna Linzmeyer), positions herself as an artist with interests focused on “communities of black descent, Afro-Amerindians, Ameafricans, Afro-Latins, LGBTQIAP+” and celebratory strategies. Malu Avelar, from Minas Gerais, installs her lesbian sauna, work already enshrined throughout the country.

Among other even more remote characters in this reconstitution of historical oppression is La Malinche (1406-1529), the Nahua indigenous slave who served Cortés, the bloodthirsty Spanish conqueror, as a translator and lover. Considered a traitor by her people, Malinche and the dual role she played make her one of the most controversial characters in Mexican culture to date.

The duo Cabello and Carceller, formed by Parisian Helena Cabello, 60, and Ana Carceller, 61, works at the intersection of photography, film, video, installations and performance, exploring issues of gender and sexuality, power and politics. Balinese artist Citra Sasmita, 33, works to unveil prejudices and social hierarchies surrounding women and female myths in Balinese culture. Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizgen, 43, whose company is made up only of women, dancers and singers from the Aïta tradition (of Moroccan cabarets), reviews the feminine in a context between the experimental and the traditional.

New York-based Guadalupe Maravilla, 47, brings installations to the Bienal that seek to link art and healing. Recovering from a rare type of cancer, Guadalupe presents sculptures from a deep research into her ancestral Mayan culture, objects that make up complex indigenous narratives with a spiritual background. Maravilla arrived in the United States by crossing the Mexican border with “coyotes”, fleeing a civil war. Without documents, he inverted the axiom of immigrant destiny: he became a master of arts at Hunter College, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and is a frequent presence in exhibitions at MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum, two of the most important in New York. He abandoned his old civil name, Irvin Morázan, and adopted his father's pseudonym.

Among the names that support the historical conceptualization, there are several fundamental figures. This is the case of one of the most prominent leaders of the struggle for civil rights in Chicago, in the United States (land from which Barack Obama emerged): the poet, writer, educator and doctor Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs (1917-2011) created African-American institutions. crucial for the affirmative struggle, in addition to writing books of referential poems, such as the celebrated What shall I tell my children who are black? (What Should I Tell My Kids Who Are Black?)

Brazilian Castiel Vitorino
Castiel Vitorino Brasileiro, I know
breathe underwater. take me out
from here. Photography, 2021

Daughter of Mexicans, the American feminist, lesbian, activist and writer Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was born in Raymondville, Texas, and was an intellectual who sought to elaborate in her work the condition of a frontier woman, of facing the condition subordination imposed on immigrants. Her work portrayed the difficult mission of settling on the other side of the border, creating a cultural and political space in which subaltern individuals had a place and representation. “I grew up between two cultures, the Mexican (with a strong indigenous influence) and the American (as a member of a colonized people in our own territory). Hate, anger and exploitation are prominent features of this landscape.”

The globality of hate is exhumed in all its multiculturalism, as in the saga of the gypsy writer Ceija Stojka (1933-2013), from Austria, who lived in a Nazi concentration camp for gypsies, in Birkenau. The Spanish collective Flo6x8, from Seville, Spain, uses a strategy of flash mobs and the language of flamenco to declare their insurgency against the global financial system.

In this sense, the ultra heterodox flamenco of the amazing singer Niño de Elche (stage name of Francisco Molina, 38 years old, born in Elche, on the White Coast of Spain) comes to shake up everything known in the traditional genre. Niño de Elche was defined by the newspaper El Mundo, as “the man who bombed flamenco”. In one of his most recent works, Niño recorded the so-called “cantes de ida y vuelta”, a subgenre of flamenco resulting from his return to Spain from his emigration to Latin America (and which brought, in its luggage, the changes introduced by local genres, such as rumba, guajira or colombian). “I wanted to take this style that exists in flamenco and demystify it, expand it and link it to themes that I am interested in dealing with, such as slavery, colonialism, violence, drugs, commercial relations and border flows”.

The breadth of cultural exchanges at the show is immense. She goes to Roraima, where the artist, the indigenous Macuxi Carmézia Emiliano, appears, with representations of the daily life and cosmogony of her people, and meets in Paris the award-winning Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitaï, who is also the star of this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, show work house, Ruins, Memories, Future, in which he follows the story of a house in West Jerusalem for 25 years.

Apart from the abstract title, Choreographies of the Impossible, the examination of the Biennial program, which will open on September 6th in Ibirapuera with 120 guests, reveals a network of political interrelationships in the broadest sense of the word politics and its contemporary confrontations.

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