September 29, 2010

29th Sao Paulo Biennial 2010 - There is always a glass of sea to sail in

29th Sao Paulo Biennial 2010
São Paulo, Brasil

September 20 - December 12, 2010

There is always a glass of sea to sail in

The 29th São Paulo Biennial, the city’s traditional bi-annual art exhibition, has open for the general public on September 25. The event features some 200 works of 148 artists and will be held until December 12 at the Ibirapuera Pavilion. The exhibition, under general curators Moacir dos Anjos and Agnaldo Farias and co-curators Fernando Alvim, Rina Carvajal, Yuko Hasegawa, Sarat Maharaj and Chus Martinez, intends to simultaneously be a celebration of the artistic and an affirmation of its responsibility towards life and society.

To state the tight and ambiguous link between art and politics, the 29th São Paulo Biennial borrows this year’s title from the verses of poet Jorge de Lima’s Invenção de Orfeu (The Invention of Orpheus” - 1952): “There is always a glass of sea to sail in”, a verse that suggests that art’s utopian dimension is contained in itself and not in what is outside or beyond it.

29th São Paulo Bienal - The time and the place

The 29th São Paulo Bienal will be a gathering of artists from many countries, with a strong presence of Latin American artists. This reflects the time and place from which it is thought of: from Brazil and from the time of rapid global geopolitical reorganization. The exhibition has no hierarchies, bringing together recent works and those created many years ago. “Historical” works, therefore, are not included in the 29th São Paulo Bienal as mere “documents” of past times, but for their importance in understanding the world today.


The exhibition is not merely contemplative. It offers visitors several different manners of experimenting the transforming power of art. For this purpose, six meeting spaces were built. In addition to offering places to make a pause in before continuing the visit to the show, they are used for a variety of activities such as talks, screenings, performances and readings. They are called “terreiros”, or yards, taking visitors to the squares, plazas, terraces, temples and courtyards, open or closed spaces that are found all over Brazil, where people dance, fight, sing, play games or instruments, cry, talk or ritualize the country’s hybrid religiosity.

Specific matters from each one of these spaces created by guest architects and artists and from the programs they harbor are stated and discussed, clearly placing the deep and diverse presence of art in life. The performance terreiro called O Outro, O Mesmo (The Other, The Same) borrows its name from a book by Argentine writer Jorge Luís Borges and is developed by architect Carlos Teixeira. The terreiro called A pele do invisível (The skin of the invisible) is signed by Slovenian artist Tobias Putrih.  Architect Roberto Loeb and graffiti artist Kboco create a discussion and conversation space in the Dito, não dito, interdito (Said, not said, interdicted) terreiro, evoking the works of writer Guimarães Rosa. In addition, the architects of Amsterdam’s UN Studio create spaces for discursive activities in a terreiro called Eu sou a rua (I am the street), a tribute to Carioca journalist and columnist João do Rio. It is a text by São Paulo writer and playwright Antonio Bivar that lends its name to the Longe daqui aqui mesmo (Far from here right here) terreiro designed by artists Marilá Dardot and Fábio Morais, a mixture of library and labyrinth.  Lastly, the Lembrança e esquecimento (Remembrance and forgetfulness) terreiro designed by Ernesto Neto is used as a space for breathing, reflection and rest.

As the discursive activities in the 29th São Paulo Biennial are part of the programs of the Eu sou a rua and Dito, não dito, interdito terreiros, they are not following the traditional format of the previous Biennial conferences and seminars, which were concentrated in a single day.  On the contrary, they are spreading over the exhibition’s entire opening period. The schedules of each one of the terreiros demands the participation of a greater number of artists in the 29th São Paulo Biennial, in addition to those included in the exhibition area. 

Bienal de São Paulo
Parque Ibirapuera • Portão 3 • Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo
04094-000 • São Paulo • SP • Brasil

Opening Hours
Monday to Wednesday: 9am to 7pm // Thursday and Friday: 9am to 10pm // Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 7pm

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