30th Biennale Sao Paulo opens with 3000 works by 111 artists

Posted filed underBrazil, Contemporary Art.

Under the title The Imminence of Poetics, the 30th São Paulo Bienal takes its curatorial premise from the multiplicity, recurrence and permanent mutability of artistic poetics. Poetics is understood as the instrumental repertoire that enables an individual or group, discipline or tradition, to establish – intuitively, intentionally or unconsciously – the discursive strategies or platforms that enable expressive acts of artistic nature.

As Chief Curator Luís Pérez-Oramas points out, imminence represents “what is on the verge of happening, the word on the tip of one’s tongue, the expected silence that precedes the decision whether or not to speak, art as a discursive strategy and poetics in its plurality and multiplicity”.

The fundamental tool of the 30th São Paulo Bienal will be the notion of Constellation, therefore instead of focusing on single artists or works, the exhibition will present audiences with constellations of oeuvres that share a common theme, process or ideology.

Taking as a conceptual base the understanding that poetics overlap, assimilate, condense and diverge, the curators of the 30th São Paulo Bienal – The Imminence of Poetics have established four conceptual notions: Survivals, Alterforms, Drifts and Voices, plus a transversal zone, Reverse. These hypotheses articulate in polyphonic form the artworks that comprise the 30th São Paulo Bienal.


The notion of survival reflects on the selection of referential as well as contemporary works, enabling a dialogue within a shared historical field. In the 30th São Paulo Bienal, survival operates through the inscription of forms and practices constituted within the ambits of spatial and temporal distant lives.


Alterforms explores selective transformations that artists, consciously or unconsciously, produce within their own practice. Alterforms presents a panorama of the current state of de-formative re-readings of modernity, and will hinge upon investigations into the state of artistic mediums: examining the margins of painting, printmaking, poetry, theory, sound, cinema, literature, theater and photography in a time characterized by the monopoly of the image as medium.


The exhibition proposes a set of altered forms in which hybridization and marginality can be understood as a drift. The remains of language in the field of art as well as spaces engendered by information technologies and digitalization resurface. What forms of nomadic practices are crucial to the understanding of our time? How can we understand drift into artistic forms and ideas as a fruitful approach to deal with contemporary art?


Voices manifests itself through works in which the performative dimension of art and phonetics prevail. Voices serves as a platform for the examination of relations between visual and discursive poetics. Approaching the voice as malleable artistic material in all its strands and possibilities, Voices pervades Survivals, Alterforms and Drifts and extends throughout the city of São Paulo and the Bienal’s virtual platforms. Creating a bridge between the notion of voice and the manifold performative dimensions of art, Voices provides a possibility to give the audience a voice.


Conceived as a transversal zone in relation to the exhibition at the Biennial Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park, Reverse is a platform that not only embraces all the curatorial elements of the 30th São Paulo Bienal, but shapes a citywide constellation. Reverse will take the form of urban interventions and exhibitions held in conjunction with partner institutions throughout the city, as well as film screenings and performances by Brazilian and international artists. Among the partners in the Reverse network are Casa Modernista, Capela do Morumbi, Casa do Bandeirante and other institutions.

Educational Component

The educational component of the 30th São Paulo Bienal – The Imminence of Poetics, coordinated by Stela Barbieri, is synchronized with the general curatorship of the exhibition. The educational program, conducted according to the concepts presented by the curators, is an opportunity to create dialogues that begin before the exhibition opens to the public and continue with courses, workshops and activities.


The Imminence of Poetics proposes a debate on the present state of artistic activity through a number of public programs in which the Biennial itself and the general aspects of its contents serve as the focus for discussion. Three symposia are scheduled for São Paulo throughout autumn 2012 in addition to a poetic/theoretical gathering, fostering a trans-territorial and trans-poetic dialogue between two cities – Ciudad Abierta, Valparaíso, in Chile, and São Paulo, Brazil.

More at bienal.org.br
Image: Visitors look at the “Photo Notes” work by Dutch Hans Eijkelboom during the 30th Biennale of Sao Paulo at Ibirapuera park in Sao Paulo, Brazil on September 4, 2012. AFP PHOTO/Yasuyoshi CHIBA