Patricia Rousseaux | Photo: Alex Flemming

We had the opportunity to follow, in these three months, the debate that several international exhibitions presented to the world of culture and art. After the moment of deprivation that we have experienced during the last two years, they reflect, even more, the global economic, social and political polarizations, in which art is playing a notable role as a transmitter of these disruptions.

In several of his articles in this issue, the critic and member of our editorial board, Fabio Cypriano, describes very well the complementarity and diversity that appear in these editions of the Venice Biennale in Italy, the Berlin Biennale and documenta fifteen, in Kassel, both in Germany.

There is, however, a common denominator in the attempt to denounce, in one way or another, the ferocity with which man has repeatedly dealt with the other.

The need to erase the past – racial and religious segregation, territorial invasions, massacres – or confuse the present using scientific and technological advances – fake-news, surveillance and centralization of digital data, militias. All are, in short, maneuvers in the service of not reflecting on such a violent colonial past, marked by the abuse of power and the need for a perverse oppression of the other.

Faced with this, Kader Attia, artist, philosopher and creative director responsible for Berlin Biennale, calls on to campaign, as a form of reparation, for the resumption of attention on the part of individuals, for everything that surrounds us. Certainly one of the most acute thinkers of the international problematic, he was interviewed by arte!brasileiros, in the German capital.

For him, we have lost the capacity for “attention”, to stop to see, to stop to understand, to be moved. We consume images and loose information, mere objects. Thus, his powerful exhibition proposes to create subtle connections, with interstitial spaces, in which, after terrifying images, a text by the psychiatrist and anti-colonialist writer Frantz Fanon awaits us, calling for the human: ”The only possibility of recovering balance is to face the whole problem, since all these discoveries and inquiries lead only in one direction: to make man admit that he is nothing, absolutely nothing. And that he must put an end to the narcissism on which he relies to imagine that he is different from other animals.” (Black Skin, White Masks.

This criticism also appears, implicit in the proposal of the documents fifteen, whose difference with any other previous exhibition left people from Germans to Brazilians perplexed. directed by ruangrupa, a collective from Indonesia, decided to turn the show into a work whose body is formed by infinite bodies.

The proposal associates art with the daily practices and customs of 14 other collectives of artists from Nigeria, Cambodia, the Americas and Indonesia.

One cannot understand this experience without realizing that it is not in its parts but in a whole, whose meaning is the importance of learning about differences and how to live with them.

The importance is given to how to share knowledge, how to take care of each other, how different groups think about the defense of the environment, organize themselves for a sustainable future and how art can help as a catalyst.

In fact, in the 1980s, in documenta sete, despite not coming from a collective, a similar proposal became one of the paradigms of contemporary art, when the artist Joseph Beuys presented one of the largest public and ecological art projects, 7000 Oaks, in which, defending the proposal of social sculpture, he planted seven thousand trees in a city of scorched earth. Thus, he brought to light one of the biggest bombings that occurred during the Second World War, in the city that started documenta in 1955.

Today, 40 years later, anyone who enters Kassel from the main train station can't help but be moved to see a leafy boulevard in bloom in spring, growing alongside rocks, deposited next to each tree.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, as long as we rescue the pulse of life. And, as Deleuze would say, joy. Art has to get out of the circuit that transforms it into merchandise, it has to disturb and fascinate.

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