Marilá Dardot, performance: Volver, 13th Havana Biennial.

Brazil has had a strong connection with the Havana Biennale since its first edition in 1984. At the time, the country had no diplomatic relations with Cuba and the works of 38 Brazilian artists were sent, first to Paris, then shipped to Havana. They could never return. From Tomie Ohtake to Arthur Barrio, passing through Waltércio Caldas, Regina Silveira, Cláudio Tozzi, Leda Catunda, no Brazilian won the prize, even though Aracy Amaral was on the jury. Today there are no more awards, but the encyclopedic character of the event remains. In this 13th Bienal de Havana, the juxtaposition of ideas of the four invited Brazilians shows a common political bias, a return to discussions and to the notoriety of spaces with barely visible discourses. They are: Sara Ramo, Marilá Dardot, Lais Myrrha e Ruy Cezar Campos.

I enter Sara Ramo's room and my gaze scans the “standards” displayed on the walls. As she moves around, wearing a dress with a print very close to her collages with fabric, cardboard and paintings, Sara changes the environment. It causes interactions of shapes and colors, deceives the visitor's eye and brain, problematizes the relationship between human beings and objects by generating new narrative possibilities, with spatial and temporal consequences. “The banners are offshoots of the series cards on the table thought of as a poem, a carnival march or an oracular deck”. The Cuban series she calls Open Wings, Banner for Apotheosis, contains a cry of despair. “A natural reaction that can surface in popular festivals, such as Carnival”. Banners are ancient pieces used by the nobility, church, battlefronts, associations, after all we live in territories of multiple meanings and temporalities. Sara symbolically transforms them into an account of the sensations of collective relationships that occur in the expanded spaces. As she defines it, “this series addresses the conflicting problem of the current Brazilian reality”.

The country is also on the agenda of Lais Myrrha com Chronography of the Cuts, an accumulative work, as a work in progress she has been developing since 2012. “The work was born the moment I realized the tree of real estate speculation, when I walked the streets and came across, for example, five houses demolished at once. This is at the height of the housing market.” lais draws attention to the dismantling of the landscape when starting small photographic chronicles, not as narrative art but as a poetic rescue, almost journalistic photo. 'These are images not only of demolitions, but also of abandoned places, busts, airports, unidentified photos”. With this, the artist creates a typology of dismantling, voluntary and involuntary, with photos taken in Portugal and Iraq, in addition to others found in archives, about specific situations that interested her. “Among the works there is one that I call Dismantling of Direction in which I talk about the right and the left, the relationship of the North with the South, which are part of my observation about the transformations of landscape, architecture and urbanism in Belo Horizonte”. To carry out the works for the Bienal, Laís arrived in Havana last December. “It was a voyage of exploration to expand the project with other pieces, sixteen from the previous series and nine new ones made in Cuba.”

The work of Ruy Cézar Campos penetrates the cities and clashes with the arid urban life and high technology. He approaches the environment through symbolic processes, as exemplified in his videos: surroundings, Monet's Arrival e Tangled End Points. All members of the series The Network Comes from Mar, the result of a year of research between Brazil, Angola and Colombia.  “I try to establish a phenomenological link between the submarine cable infrastructure and their landing platforms. Fortaleza is the most important city in the South Atlantic network among the cities with which it is connected; Sangano, in Angola and Barranquila, in Colombia”. The abyss between high technology and the social precariousness of these territories is striking. The advance of large telecommunications companies such as Angola Cables made Fortaleza a hub for the concentration of submarine cables that connect the city with Africa, Europe and North America. Operating between technology and aesthetics, the artist expresses itself between performance, documentary and fiction, with a political-social bias. "The Internet is often seen by the user as something invisible, but it has a fixed territory and place. With the arrival of high technology, they say that the future has arrived in Fortaleza, although the company's neighbors do not have access to the Internet”. Ruy is a multimedia artist who is pursuing a doctorate in Communication Technology and Culture at UERJ and intends to continue navigating between art, science and their social impacts.

The Havana Biennale transcends its physical space and this year it reaches other locations such as Matanzas, one of Cuba's cultural cities. There, Marilá Dardot realizes the utopia of diluting art in everyday life. “My work is an offshoot of a residency I did in Mexico, in 2015, at the time of the episode of the missing students. She picked newspaper headlines and intervened daily with texts written in water on a concrete wall. As she wrote, the text was erased”. Jacques Rancière says that there is a shared aesthetic genesis between art and politics, both are ways of recreating the properties of space and time. Marilá sees her work changing in recent years, leaving an optimistic view linked to literature, poetry, fiction and nature, to dive into a more pessimistic view of facts and political news in Brazil. “Last year I met María Magdalena Campos-Pons, who invited me to participate in her project Intermittent Rivers, which is part of the 13th Bienal de Havana, in the city of Matanzas and I accepted”.

Until today, in the history of art, the body has been part of the show, of changes and, over time, symbolically faced with new alternatives. Performances are aesthetic emergencies, transgressions within a culture. Marilá opted for an unconventional action, the back Repeatedly write with water the sentence A la esperanza return in a  wall on the street for a long period of time. The artist says she perceives a current political awakening of her generation, more grounded in the reality of recent years. “This performance marks a little bit of the passage from a more singular, intimate, more poetic vision of my work, to something heavier, which is the moment we face today”.

Brazil is still represented, in parallel with the Bienal, in the project Residence / Shipping, with nine national artists who worked for a week at the Taller Experimental de Gráfica, where they developed research in engraving. The result is on display at Galería Cárdenas Contemporáneo, curated by Andrès Martín Hernández. Brazilians made explicit the convergences and divergences of current contemporary art, taking advantage of the interface of visibility and clash that a biennial provides.

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