May 31, 2019 - Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc - À Nordeste: for new ideas from a plural place
May 31, 2019

Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc

Images courtesy of Sesc

À Nordeste: for new ideas from a plural place
May 16–August 25, 2019

Sesc 24 de Maio
Rua 24 de Maio
São Paulo-

“A Nordeste de quê?” [Northeast of what?]: this provocation by Cearense artist Yuri Firmeza was the spark that gave rise to the group show À Nordeste [To the Northeast]. Materialized at Sesc 24 de Maio, located in downtown São Paulo, the show stages a public debate around the theme “Northeast,” a region of Brazil that was the cradle of the colonization and of the gestation of a Brazilian culture, and which today is associated by a prejudiced stereotype with backwardness, poverty and privation. This great theme and its unfoldings are pervaded by a historical framework now being revisited, and by the processes of contemporary reinvention that question an entire set of hegemonic values, pointing to a place of extensive creative resistance.

Within this perspective, from May to August 2019, the local public has the opportunity to see a vast group of contents arising from various contexts and artistic trends that configure and articulate mindsets, dissensions and disputes concerning Brazil’s Northeast region. The show features more than 343 pieces—including artworks, documents, actions and different records—brought together and amalgamated by the curatorship in ways that relate and place into encounter the initiatives and experiences of 160 artists, artist collectives and artistic partnerships.

The exhibition is a project by three Brazilian researchers and curators—Bitu Cassundé, Clarissa Diniz and Marcelo Campos—combining their different researches, strengths and experiences to weave a dialogic platform consisting of artworks and cultural manifestations, from a complex and broad sociocultural, political and economic context.

The initial provocation was intensified in the context of Brazil’s 2018 national elections, when the Brazilian public debate was fueled by clichés, myths and historical prejudices about the Northeast, motivating the efforts for the materialization of this project. As the curators state, the exhibition “is dedicated to presenting the case of the sociocultural invention of the Northeast as a background in light of which we can (re)conceive Brazil.” Moreover, “it is necessary to always question, to escape from essentialist positions and to shed light on geopolitical questions.” The main question dealt with here is what it means to be “to the northeast.”

From the modernism of the past to naïve art, from popular manifestations to mass culture, from established contemporary art to the young expressions of art today, from bidimensional artworks to performances: everything is presented in mutual entanglement, without hierarchies and with multifold cross-influences, dissolving the borders between art genres. In order to ensure a better mediation with the public, eight different sections were defined: The Future, Uprisings, (De)coloniality, Work, Nature, City, Desire, and Language. The curators consider the sections in the exhibition space as isolated formations interconnected by the sinuosity and continuity of the proposed architecture. Archipelagoes are created giving rise to connections between different eras, authors, languages and trends, around questions that kindle often-unforeseen dialogues between different traditions and ambitions.

Besides a vast mapping of artworks and actions, the project features commissioned projects by artists from various states in the Northeast: Alcione Alves, Arthur Doomer, Ayrson Heráclito and Iurê Passos, Daniel Santiago, Gê Viana and Márcia Ribeiro, Isabela Stampanoni, Jota Mombaça, Marcelo Evelin, Marie Carangi, Matheus Britto, SaraElton Panamby and Naýra Albuquerque, Pêdra Costa and Ton Bezerra.

In keeping with its raison d’être, Sesc São Paulo promotes activities and reflexive platforms and activities involving art with the aim of stimulating the perception of alterity and fostering critical production in relation to traditions and conventions that disregard alternative histories and decentralized perceptions in ways that maintain the “other” in a state of invisibility or otherwise subject to limiting geographic and symbolic conditions. Beyond a geopolitical struggle, À Nordeste comes precisely to deconstruct Brazilian myths, such as the idea of national cohesion, allowing other nonhegemonic thoughts, shapes and voices to emerge.


Opening hours: Tuesday–Saturday 9am–9pm, Sunday 9am–6pm

Servico Social do Comercio - Sesc
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