Art meets Politics
Deutsche Bank Supports São Paulo Biennial
For the first time this year, Deutsche Bank supports one of the most important art events in South America-the biennial of São Paulo. Founded in 1951, it's the most traditional biennial worldwide after Venice. The current show promises exciting and controversial examples of both Brazilian and international contemporary art.
||The last run of the São Paulo Biennial was marked by a programmatic identity crisis: the curators at the time deliberately left the second floor of the Oscar Niemeyer-designed Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion empty-as a gap that should now be filled with new approaches. A new, seven-person team comprised of international curators has now taken on this challenge. The 29th run of the biennial has a clear thematic approach: at its core is the idea that it's impossible to separate art and politics. In addition, in the face of an increasingly globalized and internationally interconnected art scene, the new team has finally departed from national presentations, which have previously been customary. The focus was long on works from Europe and North America, but the dialogue has now been intensified with representatives from Latin America and Africa.
Over 160 artists from all around the world can be seen at this year's São Paulo Biennial. Along with known names such as Ai Weiwei, Isa Genzken, Hélio Oiticica, Ernesto Neto, Lygia Pape, and Amar Kanwar, who is also part of the exhibition Being Singular Plural at the Deutsche Guggenheim, there are also exciting new discoveries on the list of participants, including the British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara, whose installations and performances blend autobiographical and fictional elements. As the winner of the 2010 Cartier Award, Fujiwara will realize his project Frozen at this year's Frieze Art Fair-a quasi-archaeological search for a lost city in the ground beneath the fair tents in Regent's Park. The Brazilian Graziela Kunsch mainly investigates the theme of the city in her search for innovative forms for art in public space and art education. A main focus of the 29th São Paulo Biennale is on filmmakers-the spectrum includes classics of avant-garde cinema such as Jean Luc Godard, Chantal Akerman, and Harun Farocki as well as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who was the first Thai director to win the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.
The title of the show, There is always a cup of sea to sail in, is taken from Jorge de Lima's epic poem Invenção de Orfeu. It plays on art's utopian dimensions-its ability to present new perspectives in spite of resistance. The biennial sees itself as a discursive platform that underscores the ambivalent character of contemporary art: on the one hand, it reacts like a seismograph to social developments, and on the other it also develops new, alternative approaches that have the potential to affect real conditions.
This thought also marks the outward appearance of the biennial. To give visitors the possibility to talk to one another and exchange opinions, six terreiros were installed in the 30,000-square-meter-sized pavilion-thematic spaces designed by artists and architects. At the same time, a diverse program will take place consisting of talks, performances, film presentations, and readings. Following a time of crisis, the 29th São Paulo Biennial presents art as a means to get to know our world better-and to transform it.
The biennial represents another program supported by Deutsche Bank as part of its commitment to art in South America, along with Beuys and Beyond-Teaching as Art, an exhibition of works from the Deutsche Bank Collection currently touring through seven renowned Latin American museums. In addition, the bank is purchasing works by emerging young artists in the region, such as the Brazilian-born Rivane Neuenschwander and Mexican artist Dr. Lakra, while supporting local exhibition projects including the major Mira Schendel retrospective at the IAC-Instituto de Arte Contemporânea in São Paulo, a show of one of the most original Brazilian artists of the 20th century, as well as the first solo exhibition of Georg Baselitz in Latin America, which starts in December at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo.
29th Bienal de São Paulo
September 25 - December 12, 2010