Dean Lawson, Chief, 2019 © Deana Lawson. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

PTo celebrate the virtual launch of the educational publication of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo - It's dark but I sing, first rehearsals -, the Bienal holds three meetings with themes related to the content contained in its publication. Each broadcast has the recorded participation of authors and artists who collaborated with the publication and at the end there is a space for comments and questions (to participate, simply click here). In addition, a virtual exhibition by Deana Lawson integrates the institution's virtual actions.

Cover and cover pages of the publication Primeira Ensaios. Photo: Disclosure.

First Tests

The book bets on the thought of the Martinican philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant, recognizing the effort and complexity required not to relate from a single point of view with the knowledge that is assimilated and with the realities that surround us. In a note, the general curator of the 34th Bienal, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, stated that “we never have the ambition to explain things from beginning to end, because our vision is the same as that of Glissant, that there is always a part of the other, a part big or small, you won't understand. And the effort that is made is for you to have a relationship with this other, even if you don't understand”.

On June 10, the conversation will be based on the Bendegó meteorite. Found in the Brazilian hinterland, Bahia, in 1784, the meteorite withstood the fire of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro in 2018. This was also the largest siderite coming from space that had been found on Brazilian soil. In the book, the meteorite appears as a statement to address notions of resistance, perpetuity and resilience. For the conversation, the Bienal brings the curator of meteoritics from the National Museum, Maria Elizabeth Zucolotto, and the indigenous artist Gustavo Caboco.

On the 11th, professor Christine Greiner and artist Eleonora Fabião talk about the bell in the chapel of Padre Faria, dating from 1750 and located in the Minas Gerais city of Ouro Preto, which was rung on two important occasions in the history of Brazil: the day of death of Tiradentes and the inauguration of Brasília. In the book, the bell is used in a practical essay, a proposal for an artistic exercise focused on the relationships between body, sound, repetition and memory.

On the 12th, themes around the portraits of Frederick Douglass will be addressed. Today, Douglass is recognized for his pioneering understanding of the circulation of the photographic image as a political instrument capable of reiterating or opposing racial stereotypes. In the Bienal publication, he mobilizes research related to these issues and self-representation. To contribute to the debate, journalist Nabor Jr. and the artist Daniel de Paula, who will also address the Teatro Experimental do Negro.  

Deana Lawson in new solo exhibition

Deana Lawson, Vera with Lateral Puncture, 2020 © Deana Lawson. Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

With an unprecedented series held in Salvador (BA), commissioned by the Fundação Bienal, the American photographer Deana Lawson opens a new solo exhibition in Switzerland. The exhibition is based on the photographer's research on African diasporas in various parts of the world and premiered at the Kunsthalle Basel, in Basel, forming one of the multiple expanded actions of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo. centropy presents meticulously staged yet deeply intimate images that explore the clothing, everyday habits and domestic interiors of such African diasporas. Keeping a close eye on stereotypes in Western portrayals of Africans and people of African descent, Lawson captures unforgettable constructions of contemporary black life.


The online version of the First Essays is now available for download and reading at this link

Also check out the other content available on the Bienal website here.

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