November 3, 2017 - Fundação Bienal de São Paulo - 33rd Bienal de São Paulo: Affective Affinities
November 3, 2017

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Courtesy Bienal de São Paulo.

33rd Bienal de São Paulo
Affective Affinities
September 7–December 9, 2018

Press preview : September 4
Press and professional preview : September 5–6

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
s/n - Ibirapuera
Parque Ibirapuera - Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral
São Paulo-SP

Less than a year from its opening, the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo—Affective Affinities proposes a shift in the way the event is structured. The Fundação Bienal adopted Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro’s proposal to distribute curatorial decision-making in a more horizontal manner.

As a way of questioning the predominant thematic model in contemporary curatorial projects, the 33rd edition proposes an alternative “operating system” to shed light on the way that artists articulate and understand their creative communities. Seven artists from different backgrounds, generations and art practices have been invited by Pérez-Barreiro to each conceive a group show in which their work dialogues with that of their peers. As a result, the Bienal will host seven different exhibitions curated by the following artists:          

Mamma Andersson will examine figuration in the painting tradition, from popular art to contemporary art; Antonio Ballester Moreno proposes a dialogue with references that touch on the history of abstraction and its relationship with nature, pedagogy and spirituality; Sofia Borges will research concepts of tragedy and ambiguous form; Waltercio Caldas will develop a historical reflection on form and abstraction; Alejandro Cesarco is focusing his research on artists that work on translation and image; Claudia Fontes will activate issues involving the relationship between art and narrative; and Wura-Natasha Ogunji will bring together a group of artists with whom she has worked closely, sharing issues on identity and African diaspora.    

“By engaging directly with the artist, this model privileges process and affinity in dialogue with a long tradition of artists acting as curator,” explains Pérez-Barreiro. The seven group exhibitions will be complemented by various solo exhibitions selected by the chief curator. The final list of participants will be announced in the first half of 2018.

Affective Affinities
Affective Affinities is the guiding principle behind this Bienal. The expression brings together Goethe’s concept of Elective Affinities (1809) and Mário Pedrosa’s thesis “On the Affective Nature of Form in the Work of Art” (1949).

As a key figure in the history of art and a political activist, Pedrosa played a unique role in Brazilian modern thought generally and in the early editions of the Bienal de São Paulo specifically: “I was inspired by Pedrosa’s commitment to the diversity of artistic languages, his conviction that art is an expression of freedom and experimentation, his faith in the artist, and the social and transformative role that art can play by expanding sensibility,” explains Pérez-Barreiro.

The title is explicitly not a theme for the exhibition, instead it reflects the way in which it was conceived. Just as in Goethe’s book the relationship of the protagonist couple is impacted by the arrival of guests (a process he discusses in terms the affinities between chemical elements), in a parallel manner the curators of the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo are interested in showing the artistic and cultural links and affinities and the multiple influences that are intrinsic to the artistic process.

In an attempt to align thought and feeling, creation and reflection, the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo is conceived as an exhibition that favors experience over discourse, discovery over theme and plurality over uniformity. By questioning power relations within the art world and distributing decision-making, the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo aspires to reaffirm the power of art as a unique place to focus attention in, to, and for the world.

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
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Affective Affinities
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