Alfredo Jaar, "I Can't Go On, I'll Go On", 2019. Image Courtesy of the artist

This Tuesday, May 12th, Fundação Bienal launches the bilingual website for 34th Bienal de São Paulo. under the title It's dark but I sing, the edition kicked off on February 8 - before the coronavirus outbreak reached the status of a pandemic and the need for social isolation -, with the opening of the exhibition of Ximena Garrido-Lecca and the performance by Neo Muyanga, watched by an audience of almost 1,8 people. With the arrival of the pandemic, the dynamics of individual exhibitions was interrupted and future exhibitions are being rethought by the Bienal's curatorship. Even so, although the group show has been postponed from September to October 3rd, the Bienal team is still active and has just launched the website of editing.

Paulo Miyada, assistant curator, Carla Zaccagnini, guest curator, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, general curator, Ruth Estévez, guest curator and Francesco Stocchi, guest curator. Curatorial team of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo.
Paulo Miyada, assistant curator, Carla Zaccagnini, guest curator, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, general curator, Ruth Estévez, guest curator and Francesco Stocchi, guest curator. Photo: Pedro Ivo Trasferetti / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

New website, new confirmations

The 34th Bienal will have the participation of around 90 artists, whose announcements have been gradual. While the Foundation does not disclose the complete list, the profile of confirmed artists can be checked on the new virtual page. To the 28 names already on the platform, there are three new artists who contributed to the educational publication of the 34th Bienal: Carmela Gross, Daniel de Paula and Gustavo Caboco.

Gross has participated in seven editions of the show. His large-scale works are inserted in the urban space and signal a critical look at architecture and history. Daniel de Paula, a Brazilian born in the USA, proposes in his work reflections on the production of space as a reproduction of power dynamics, thus revealing critical investigations on the structures that shape places and relationships. Gustavo Caboco, son of a Wapichana mother, from Curitiba, presents a work marked by the desire for the memory of indigenous peoples, by the repercussion of the voices of these peoples and their reconnection with the imaginary of struggle and life present in their roots – it was only in 2001 that Caboco managed to visit his family's Canuanim village (Roraima).

Free access to exhibition publications

Following the proposal of the 34th Bienal to expand in time, the event's publications also began to be launched in February 2020 and will run until October 2020, on the occasion of the opening of the collective show. Such publications can be found on this edition's website, with emphasis on a series of correspondences, prepared by the Bienal's curatorial team, to share reflections on the development of the 34th edition with the public.

Deana Lawson, “Oath”, 2013. Image Courtesy of the artist

Jacopo Crivelli Visconti and Paulo Miyada, general curator and assistant curator respectively, address the unpredictable darkness of the pandemic. “In September, when the Bienal's main show opens, how gloomy will the horizon be? It is impossible to predict,” Miyada writes in a “pre-isolation” correspondence. To which Crivelli Visconti adds: “We did not foresee that the darkness we were talking about would become even more impenetrable. That the political and social threat to which we were referring, symbolically and metaphorically, would from one moment to the next also become physical, although invisible”.

Guest curator Carla Zaccagni walks quickly through the process of defining the Bienal's title. She comments: “We decided to call her It's dark but I sing. Because we are in dark times. And the dark we're in is done. Because we want to look into that dark, look into that dark. Let the pupils dilate to capture the light that is still there and begin to outline shapes in the shadows.”

Multimedia collection shows what has already come and what is to come

Performance by South African artist Neo Muyanga, presented at the Bienal Pavilion in partnership with the collective Legítima Defesa. Photo: Levi Fanan/ Publicity

It is also worth scouring the multimedia part available, which includes, for example, the documentary about the performance A Maze in Grace, by Neo Muyanga with Legitimate Defense + Bianca Turner, presented on February 8, 2020.

Although the works present in the group show are not yet confirmed, for each artist a gallery was created with some reference images of their work.

Since 1996, the Bienal has had its own website, all of which can be viewed or reviewed on the Bienal portal, which also brings together exclusive content on the various cultural initiatives of the Bienal Foundation and includes the Wanda Svevo Historical Archive, with more than one million documents around the achievements of the São Paulo Biennials and their developments in the history of art.

Also check out:

In a recent interview, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, curator of the show, and Paulo Miyada, deputy curator, explained the main contours of their project. read here.


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