À fronting Videobrasil since its first edition in 1983, Solange Farkas highlights that the exhibition has always aimed to “illuminate certain areas of the world”, especially the production of regions that today we usually call the Global South, placing artists and works “in a more of international contemporary art”. In its 22nd edition, entitled Memory is an editing island, the Sesc_Videobrasil Biennial reaches its 40th anniversary, bringing together the works of 60 artists, from 38 countries, several of which “had not yet been mapped by the art system”, says Solange, highlighting that this had always been the objective of the exhibition. The opening to the public takes place this Thursday (19), at Sesc 24 de Maio.
“This is an edition that looks closely at its history”, highlights Solange Farkas. “We are talking about memory, so it was a very intense exercise to review, perhaps more clearly, in an even more didactic way, the role that Videobrasil played over these 40 years”. For the artistic director, Videobrasil “operated in cycles”, starting in a “visionary” way, observing the movement of renewal of languages, a new tool, whose capillarity and relevance in the arts scene had not yet been foreseen, but with “ a desire to welcome and give visibility to something unknown” and over which a certain prejudice hovered.
The 40th anniversary also takes Solange to look at the future of the Biennale. According to her, the reflection now is more about strengthening the institution Videobrasil Cultural Association “as a more powerful place for continued research and access to this production, using the full potential of its historical collection, not just dealing with the issue of its conservation and safeguarding”, he states. “Now, we are trying to think about carrying out permanent work, which is not limited to the perspective and effort of organizing a major event”.
Solange says that, after the creation of Videobrasil, another important cycle began, starting in the 1990s: that of the internationalization of the Biennale, in which the artistic director invested in a focus that not only housed American and European artists, but from countries with stories similar to that of Brazil, in cultural and sociopolitical terms. This moment reflected a “need for exchange between artists, to confront hegemonies, to bring references, not just thinking about the public, but for a scene that was a little weakened. This dissent in relation to the established axes of art, you saw little of that, even in the 2000s”, she ponders.
More recently, continues Solange, Videobrasil sought to open up to contemporary art as a whole, for all its expressions, not only in the field of video, “but also with video showing itself to be renewed and more powerful, especially in this global context, post-pandemic, in which audiovisual plays a central role in contemporary life”. The video, says Solange, is the tool that has placed the Biennale, during these 40 years, “in a place that goes beyond a major event, which takes place every two years, a place for the generation of knowledge, the creation of networks in these marginalized territories on the world map of arts”.
For this 22nd edition, Solange invited Raphael Fonseca and Kenyan Renée Akitelek Mboya to take on the curatorship of the Biennale. She highlights that Fonseca is “extremely connected, a curator, let’s say, who has a decolonial concern”. Fonseca suggested the title Memory is an editing island, phrase taken from the poem Open letter to John Ashbery, by Waly Salomão (1943-2003). Renée was invited with a specific focus on the Biennale's public programs. “It is one of the important axes, and in this edition they are completely enhanced, intense”, she says.
Solange Farkas points out that 90% of the participants in this Biennale are artists who have never been to any edition of Videobrasil, a fact that is not very common because the exhibition traditionally has a recurrence of names, who renew their work over the years. There are, however, two caveats: “One of them is a fundamental artist for thinking about the history of Videobrasil and the contemporary art scene in this current context of conflicts and issues linked to nationalism, colonialism and the Palestinian crisis”, he assesses.
In addition to Cherri, Solange highlights, among the artists mapped for this edition, Antonio Pichilla Quiacain (Guatemala), Gabriela Pinilla (Colombia), Maisha Maene (Democratic Republic of Congo), Samuel Fosso (Cameroon), and Vitória Cribb (Brazil). Long live Videobrasil.
PROGRAMMING FOR THURSDAY (19) AND FRIDAY (20)
10:30 am – Table Echo chamber, with Solange Oliveira Farkas, Eduardo de Jesus, Alessandra Bergamaschi, Raphael Fonseca and Renée Akitelek Mboya.
14pm – Meeting A bed that shelters the castaway: building institutions in the Global South, with Tirzo Martha, Mella Jarrsma with and mediation by Ana Sophie Salazar.
16:30 pm – Performance Fragments Untitled #5 (Images of past as images for the future), by Doplgenger. After the presentation there will be a conversation with Isidora Ilić (Doplgenger) and Teresa Jindrova.
10:30 am – Meeting Ashes of an emptied body: image, race and form, with Maksaens Denis, Seba Calfuqueo, Vitória Cribb and mediation by Ying Kwok.
14pm – Meeting An archipelago of lint from the suit of memory: memorial and place, with Natalia Lassalle-Morillo, Youqine Lefèvre, Froiid and mediation by Nomaduma Masilela.
16:30 am – Meeting From the fantastic forgotten country: objects, archives, collections, with Leila Danziger, Eduardo Montelli, Zé Carlos Garcia and mediation by Paula Nascimento.
18:30 pm – Performance Solar Orders, by Kent Chan, featuring DJ Raiany Sinara.
19:30 pm – Launch of the BFVPP Project / Anna Bella Geiger Dossier. Conversation with Vivian Ostrovsky and Anna Bella Geiger.
22nd Bienal Sesc_Videobrasil
Memory is an editing island
Artistic direction: Solange Farkas
Curated by: Raphael Fonseca and Renée Akitelek Mboya
Until February 25, 2024
Sesc 24 de Maio – R. 24 de Maio, 109, República – São Paulo (SP)
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to 21 pm; Sundays and holidays, from 9 am to 18 pm