By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Visitors walking into the 32nd São Paulo Art Bienal are asked to ponder the uncertainties of the world we live in today, with political upheavals, violence, climate change, migration exodus and increasing xenophobia. With the title Incerteza Viva (Live Uncertainty), curators seek to address these issues which seem to affect people from all over the world, one way or another.
“It’s necessary for us to sever the link between uncertainty and fear,” explained Jochen Volz, this year’s curator of the Bienal, during the press conference to open the event.
According to Volz the objective of art exhibitions such as these is “to act as a platform which actively promotes diversity, freedom, and experimentation, at the same time exercising critical thought and proposing other real possibilities.”
The exhibition, which includes 340 works by 81 artists from 33 countries, is assembled like a garden where ‘themes and ideas are loosely woven into an integrated whole’ say curators.
According to the curators stability is understood as a remedy against anxiety, while uncertainty is generally avoided or denied. “Uncertainty in art points to creation, taking into account ambiguity and contradiction. Art feeds off chance, improvisation and speculation,” state organizers of the event. Most of the artistic projects were commissioned specifically for this 32nd Bienal.
A number of projects like Brazilian artist Frans Krajcberg’s sculptures made of coconut tree trunks and mangroves burnt in forest fires, look directly at nature. They bring to the forefront of the discussion the big questions of our time such as global warming and its impact on our habitats, the extinction of species and the loss of biological and cultural diversity.
Others like German artist Hito Steyerl’s video-installation Hell Yeah We F__k Die, based on the five most popular words in pop songs in this decade, is the author’s critical examination of political and economic structures of power.
Another installation also receiving a lot of attention from the public and which clearly portrays this age of uncertainty is American artist Rachel Rose’s video. In Rose’s video unsuspecting beachgoers enjoying a sunny day at the beach are suddenly caught in a turbulent hailstorm.
Visitors at this year’s Bienal will not only have the chance of seeing and feeling works of art, but also tasting. Conceived of by Jorge Menna Barreto in a partnership with sustainable food production networks, Restauro is a work of art that functions as a restaurant inside the exhibition with a menu based on plants.
Not all installations of the 32nd Bienal are located within the Pavillon. Koo Jeong A’s installation ARROGATION is a skate ramp built inside Ibirapuera Park and intended for public use.
Along with Jochen Volz, co-curators of the event include Gabi Ngcobo, Júlia Rebouças, Lars Bang Larsen and Sofía Olascoaga.
The São Paulo Art Bienial was founded in 1951 and has been held every two years since. Find out more about the event at their web site.
What: 32nd Bienal of São Paulo
When: September 7th – December 11th, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays and holidays, 9AM-7PM; Thursdays and Saturdays, 9AM-10PM. Closed Mondays.
Where: Parque Ibirapuera, Gate 3, Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavillion, São Paulo, SP