By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Although one of the oldest contemporary art events in the world, the Bienal de São Paulo, currently in its 33rd edition, has shown innovation once again, bringing surprises this year in the form of seven mini-exhibitions instead of a centralized, overall theme.

33rd Bienal de São Paulo, curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, in Sao Paulo brings surprises with seven mini-exhibitions, photo by Rovena Rosa/Agencia Brasil.

The proposal dubbed ‘Affective Affinities’ is from the biennial’s chief curator, Spaniard Gabriel Perez-Barreiro. Perez-Barreiro invited a team of seven artists to bring together other artists with the same cultural affinities to create mini-exhibitions

According to Perez-Barreiro, the objective was to explore an alternative to the centralized, single-set-of-issues structure that dominates today’s art circuit and ‘not to work with anything predetermined’, creating several experiences within the biennial.

“I hope to show how artists build their genealogies and systems to understand their own practices over those of other artists,” said Perez-Barreiro during the press conference to open the São Paulo exhibition.

The seven invited curators – Alejandro Cesarco, Antonio Ballester Moreno, Claudia Fontes, Mamma Andersson, Sofia Borges, Waltercio Caldas and Wura-Natasha Ogunji – were completely free to show their own work and invite other artists with whom they identified with.

From discussing how the past enables and frustrates potentialities in an artist’s work to a reflection of the intimate relationship between biology and culture to the link between visual arts and literature, the seven curators chose very different approaches to explain underlying theme of the exhibition – affinities.

“Fragmentation is a fact in today’s world and it is represented in this exhibition. This (biennial) is linked to today’s social networks and its collateral effects, which makes people connect only with those who have the same interests as they, which in turn increases discrimination and intolerance,” concluded Perez-Barreiro.

What: 33rd Bienal of São Paulo

When: September 7th – December 9th, 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
Entrance: Free

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