August 16, 2018 - Sesc São Paulo - That which escapes: the 14th Naïfs Biennial of Brazil
August 16, 2018

Sesc São Paulo

Alex dos Santos, A Violência Contra Mulher, 2018. Elza Mendes Pereira (AZLEMP), Quando Impera O Egoísmo, 2018. Carlos Augusto Calderari, Vendedor e Pedinte, 2018. Marcos Akasaki, Bicho, 2017. Carmela Pereira, Estante de escultura, 1998–2008. Pituko Waiãpi, Tabocal, 2010.

That which escapes: the 14th Naïfs Biennial of Brazil
August 18–November 25, 2018

Sesc Piracicaba
R. Ipiranga, 155 - Centro

Between August and December 2018, Sesc Piracicaba is holding the 14th Naïfs Biennial of Brazil. Already with more than 30 years of existence, the biennial has assumed a prominent role in the Brazilian art scene as a strategic place for the expression of art from popular origins, even if at the fringe of the hegemonic contemporary art circuit. The curatorship of this edition, aware of the country’s diverse reality, has constructed an inclusive perspective on these artistic practices, very much alive throughout Brazil. With the aim of constructing paths and possibilities, rather than merely establishing a thematic framework, for this edition the curators have proposed the title Daquilo que escapa [That Which Escapes].

Held in the state’s interior, in one of the oldest units of Sesc São Paulo, the event, which has now become a biennial, began in 1986 as part of a larger project at that time called Cenas da Cultura Caipira [Scenes of Country Culture]. The first edition, under the name Mostra Nacional de Arte Ingênua e Primitiva [National Show of Naïve and Primitive Art], shed light on the theme of naïve art—its concepts, history and developments—thus allowing for the construction of a platform for public debate and legitimization of this production. It was in 1992 that the show became a biennially held event, gaining size over time. Since then, in its most diverse realizations, the exhibition and its programmatic activities have instated a condition of tensioning, with artists staking a claim for recognition before the elitist social construction of art.

The 14th Biennial’s curatorship consists of Ricardo Resende, currently curator of the Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea, in Rio de Janeiro, and of Fundação Marcos Amaro, in Itu (SP); Armando Queiroz, a researcher and artist from the state of Pará; and Juliana Okuda Campaneli, a researcher and technical assistant of the Visual Arts and Technology Management of Sesc São Paulo. This edition of the event issued an open invitation for submissions and received 1,164 artworks entered by 583 artists. From these, 155 artworks were selected, representing a wide range of supports, techniques and themes. By a strategic decision of the curatorship, the exhibition will also feature works by 14 invited artists who are influential and recognized in their communities, thereby rounding off the curatorial program.

With a total of more than 200 artworks produced by 121 artists—107 selected and 14 invited artists—coming from 21 Brazilian states, the curators proposed an exhibition whose organization relied on the concrete approach of visiting the artist’s homes and work environments, thus allowing for a deeper knowledge of their contexts and daily lives. This collective construction was a fundamental tool for the definition of the show.

The curatorship decided on a more open exhibition format which can at times be escaped from, underscoring a diversity of themes and motivations The wide spectrum of artistic aims includes a noteworthy critical view of social issues, political engagement and resistance, a transgressive and insubordinate character, diverse relations with the sacred and the religious, affective approaches to the fauna, flora and the imperious reality, and a world of intercrossed daydreams reflecting a broad gamut of subjective drives.

In a general sense, opening space for symbolic constructions still considered as “other,” and allowing them to be manifested with the same apparatuses of a still elitist and Eurocentric structure is perhaps the greatest democratic triumph of this cultural action founded by Sesc. As aptly pointed out by Danilo Santos de Miranda, the institution’s director, the exhibition is compelling proof of Brazil’s being a “heterogeneous country, full of contradictions, with intense social contrasts, seeking the affirmation of its roots and the valorization of its distinct voices, colors and cultural manifestations.” It is to this partially invisible country, therefore, that the exhibition seeks to lend visibility and a voice.

Sesc São Paulo
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