Jochen Volz: a well-timed 32nd Sao Paulo Biennale

Drawing more than 79 artists from 33 countries, the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil, opening on 7 September, aims to answer questions raised by the current socio-political climate and the environment… in the midst of upheaval. The 32nd Sao Paulo Biennale was entrusted, two years ago, to Jochen Volz, art critic and program director at Serpentine Gallery in London until 2015. Volz chose the theme of Incerteza Viva, “Live Uncertainty”, and rallied the support of four other curators: Sofía Olascoaga, Gabi Ngcobo, Lars Bang Larsen and Júlia Rebouças, respectively from Mexico, South Africa, Denmark and Brazil. With a higher percentage of female than male artists, the biennale is organised around four themes relating to uncertainty: ecology, education, cosmology and narrative. Let’s start with the biennale’s theme. Why uncertainty? If you look at what artists are doing, and what they’re working on, you’ll notice that many are working on this notion, which is becoming increasingly crucial today. Artists work on different definitions of this term: some on fear and anguish, others more creatively, possibly, look at the aspect of luck. When I started working on this biennale project in 2014, there were some publications and scientific articles on the end of the world. Many biologists described the extinction of certain species; political scientists, the way in which other powers have taken over in today’s capitalism. Everything that we’ve taken for granted is being challenged. In this way, the title “Incerteza Viva” points to the distinction between uncertainty and crisis, as well as fear. To fully live with this uncertainty, it’s important to make this separation, and perhaps, to understand that we can improvise. Art has taken hold of this subject, far more than other domains. There’s no real conclusion, and art teaches us that we can live with contradictions. Artists work...

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Death of Tunga (1952-2016)

Brazilian sculptor Tunga has died at the age of 64 years on June, 6th. Tunga was born in 1952 in Palmares, Brazil. An architect by training, his approach to sculpture combines a conceptual dimension associated with an aesthetic reminiscent of certain aspects of Baroque, producing a certain zaniness that contrasts with the sobriety of his concept. Including a range of references to literature, as well as to videos and performance, Tunga contributed to pushing back the limits of sculpture. With a passion for alchemy, his works reflect a timeless desire to overcome the physical structure of things. His work explores “the duel between the cerebral and the biological impulse”, producing forms borrowed from different artistic practices such as installation, architecture, sculpture and...

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SP-Arte launches a new section for its 12th edition

The Brazilian fair SP-Arte (São Paulo) is launching a new design section at its 12th edition, taking place from 7 to 10 April 2016. This section aims to showcase the design tradition in Brazil, with special attention to local production. The country’s first designs during the colonial period were heavily worked pieces of wood. And still today, Brazilian designers use wood, continuing this tradition, while adding a layer of reflection on the environment. As of the second half of the 20th century, Brazilian design entered the international arena with the modernism of Sergio Rodrigues (1927-2014), Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012), Jorge Zalszupin, Lina Bo Bardi (1914-92) and Joaquim Tenreiro (1906-92). We can also find the experimental designs of Luciana Martins, Gerson de Oliveira and OVO. Exhibitors in the new section are almost all based in São Paulo: Coletivo Amor de Madre, Artemobilia, Baraùna, Belas Artes, Carlos Motta, DPOT, Jader Almeida by DPOT, ETEL, Firma Casa, Hugo França, Itamar Musse, Legado Arte, LLUSSA, Maneco Quinderé, Marton, Mercado Moderno, OVO, Passado Composto Seculo XX, Pé Palito, Sandra e Marcio, Teo, Jacqueline Terpins, Thomaz...

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Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro has a new visual arts curator

According to Artnexus, the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro has appointed a new visual arts curator: Fernando Cocchiarale. This philosophy and aesthetics professor at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro has also notched up over twenty years of teaching experience at the Visual Arts School in Parque Lage. A former curator of the cultural programme “Rumos: Itaú Cultural”, the curating career of Fernando Cocchiarale is now taking a new...

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The Brazilian art market crumbles due to economic crisis

While observers have praised its resistance in the face of the country’s economic problems, Brazil’s art market has now well and truly plummeted into the crisis. The past year has not been a good one for the country, and many gallerists have come out with turnovers down by 50 %. If 2016 continues on this note, it will be a disastrous year, announce commentators. The Galeria Millan, for example, one of Brazil’s oldest galleries, is losing 40 % of its income while at the Galeria Fortes Vilaça, sales have melted by 30 %. At the Galeria Luisa Strina, the strategy is to look overseas to boost activity (ARCOmadrid and The Armory Show). And yet, sales globally increased between 2014 and 2015, producing $67 million in 2015 as opposed to $34 million in 2014. The Galeria Nara Roesler opened a showroom in New York on top of its two spaces in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Meanwhile, in July 2015 the news came out of the closing of the gallery White Cube in Sao Paulo. Faced with this situation, gallerists reveal signs of concern about the country’s economic situation: the Brazilian currency has lost almost a quarter of its value compared to the dollar, unemployment is on the rise, the economy is out of breath, and the government has acknowledged that it is undergoing...

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