Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, "That which identifies them like the eye of the cyclops", 2016

The 34th Bienal de São Paulo started with the publicity of its activities earlier. This is because the edition curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti will begin in February 2020, with exhibitions in the Ibirapuera pavilion and in partner institutions of the event. The current project makes a move to insert the Bienal in the flow of the city, creating actions that do not end only with the main exhibition, which takes place in September.

“It's dark but I sing” are the verses of the Amazonian poet Thiago de Mello that give the event its title. The expansion of the institutional network was commented on by Visconti in May of this year in an interview with ARTE!Brasileiros, in which he reported that these partnerships show the desire to work with a curatorial line that evidences a kind of poetics of relationships, showing the various possibilities of creating dialogues, in institutional and curatorial instances, but also with the public: “The challenge for Dealing with all these audiences means being neither hermetic nor excessively simple and, at the same time, speaking in a direct and honest way with all of them”, he declared at the time.

In the first activity report, the novelty mentioned is that the Bienal Pavilion will be taken over by three individuals between February and August. The first, scheduled for February 8, will be by Peruvian artist Ximena Garrido-Lecca. Currently, the artist lives and works between Lima and Mexico City. The exhibition will have, in its opening, the presentation of the unpublished performance A Maze in Graze, by Neo Muyanga, a South African artist who brings in his practice an indelible connection with music. Both Garrido-Lecca's and Muyanga's works flow into discussions that discuss the narratives and counter-narratives of colonial processes.

On April 25th, it is the turn of Brazilian Clara Ianni to have a solo show in space, accompanied at the opening by a performance by Argentine León Ferrari, Words Ajenas (1965-1969). In it, violence, war and power are presented in dialogues created from appropriations of quotes from historical characters, connecting to Ianni's work that addresses the perception of time, history and space in globalized capitalism. Closing the exhibitions at the Pavilion, which opens on July 18, the show by American Deana Lawson presents a set of images produced in Salvador, Bahia, as part of her series of photos that portray cultures that have their origins in the African diaspora. The latter will not have a performance, as in the previous ones.

On the other hand, at the opening of the main exhibition, the work must be presented the death round, by Hélio Oiticica, created in 1979, but never presented before. The performance was conceived by the artist as a controversial response to the optimistic hope of the Brazilian population after the decline of the dictatorship, as he believed that for social justice to be fully achieved, other structural changes were necessary.

In turn, at the partner institutions, the novelties announced so far by the organization of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo include an individual exhibition by the Puerto Rican Beatriz Santiago Muñoz at the Pivô space, located in the Copan Building. It is the first exhibition to be shown at one of the Bienal's partner institutions and will be curated by Fernanda Brenner. The show takes place between August 29 and November 7 and the artist also participates in the main exhibition.

In addition to Beatriz, two other artists confirmed in the main show are the Ecuadorian Adrián Balseca and the Austrian Philipp Fleischmann. Both participated in conversations organized by the institution at the Oswald de Andrade Cultural Workshop, in October and November of this year, where they presented proposals for the works that will be exhibited at the Bienal.

In addition to Jacopo Crivelli Visconti as general curator, the 34th Bienal de São Paulo has Paulo Miyada as assistant curator and Carla Zaccagnini, Ruth Estévez and Francesco Stocchi as guest curators. During 2019, the project was presented in several countries, such as Denmark, Argentina, Norway, Ecuador and Ireland. Institutional partnerships also include organizations from outside Brazil, evidenced in the production of individual shows that will be held in the Pavilion, with Ximena's being a co-production with CCA Wattis (USA), Clara's with CCA Lagos (Nigeria) and Deana with Kunsthalle Basel (Switzerland). Muyanga's performance is a joint initiative with the Liverpool Biennial (England).

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