EThis edition brings an accurate critique of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, which resulted in a pleasant surprise, both in its impeccable exhibition proposal and in the choice of different representatives of contemporary culture, many of them completely unknown to the general public.
We can celebrate! We are witnessing an effective, and not just theoretical, movement on the part of cultural and educational institutions, on the importance of recognizing national and international culture as a result of its stories, its memories, its color.
Before the Pandemic, a search for true independence from the canons was already visible, in exhibitions such as AI-5 50 Years – Not finished yet, at the Tomie Ohtake Institute; Radical Women, at the Pinacoteca; Afro-Atlantic Stories, at MASP and TO, the 32nd São Paulo Biennial of 2016, living uncertainty. Shortly thereafter, any and all advances suffered a setback that submerged us, perplexed in the regression, during the last five years.
A lot was lost, but we can celebrate that the power of the manifestations of collectives and social leaders alongside art and their transformative force were able to impose themselves on erasure maneuvers.
I repeat here the words with which I opened the I Latin American Seminar: Reports, Memory and Reparation, held at the beginning of August this year, in the city of Buenos Aires, in collaboration with BIENALSUR. Paraphrasing Markus Gabriel, a young German philosopher, in The Power of Art, “art is what is at the origin of our humanity, of our conception as differentiated animals. Art has an essence and this essence is in permanent conflict with other forces.”
With those of stagnant institutions, of ignorant elitism. Those of the power of fascism, which men (not all of them) insist on exercising. From global trends of economic control and the forces of the speculative art market, for example.
Thus, its essence bursts forth, no matter the time, reinvents itself and, with its freedom and autonomy by nature, obliquely, controls power.
Using different supports: wood, brick, clay, earth, water, seeds, cloth, the body and even paint, artists developed a strong movement against hegemonic theories, which for centuries have tried to erase black bodies, the place and strength of women, the freedom in gender identity. The destruction of nature.
In this 35th Biennale, the choice of different subjects of their time created a timeless game, a work of reflection on what has already been said and what is said. The presence of the work of Sidney Amaral, The foreigner, from 2011, in this Biennial and on our cover, is not random. It shows a previous alert, which today is completed with the presentation of the unmissable installation by Ayrson Heráclito and Tiganá Santana, Forest of Endless, with the exhibition by the collective Zumví – Arquivo Aro Fotográfico, created in the 1990s by young black people from the outskirts of Salvador, and whose work is now eloquently recognized in the exhibition. Or the scenes of Bispo do Rosário in dialogue with Rosana Paulino.
The edition also includes several of the very important exhibitions that speak to the spirit of the Biennale during this period, as well as the interview with the French historian, Anne Lafont, dedicated to studying the place of black people in the history of French art.
As long as we are able to speak, write and produce works of art and encounter them, we will be free. Such is his radical autonomy. ✱