As part of the 2014 – 2016 Vancouver Biennale, North Vancouver’s waterfront Pipefitters Building has been reimagined as a cultural workshop with a focus on Brazilian contemporary art. Transforming the historic space into a community hub, the International Pavilion exhibits installations from Brazil’s most significant emerging artists. The Pavilion serves as a gateway to showcase the Brazilian contemporary art scene with all its richness of contemporary thinking, universality and innovation in its creative processes.
According to this segment curator Marcelo Dantas, “Brazil is a country stigmatized by a spectacular image of soccer, carnival, crime and semi-naked women on its beaches. Brazil is much more complex than this distorted view. With this Pavilion, we are trying to compensate the visual aberration of how our culture is seen, and show the Brazilian art scene with all its richness.”
Inspired by the Vancouver Biennale’s 2014-2016 exhibition theme “Open Borders/Crossroads Vancouver”, “Vancouver Novel” explores the shifting boundaries between public and private life in an era marked by social media and reality TV. Situated in one of Vancouver’s most exclusive waterfront neighbourhoods, the installation cycles through a series of 23 sentences which weave a poignant narrative of daily life. These snippets of domesticity, by turns banal and ominous, underscore our ever-growing appetite for updated information and continuous content. Intensely personal and yet broadcast for the world to see, “Vancouver Novel” asks us to consider the narrowing chasm between our public and private lives.
Filé de Peixe – CM² Arte Contemporânea
Filé de Peixe will display and legitimally comercialize one squared centimetre of works by famous contemporary Brazilian and Canadian artists, giving any person the opportunity to start their art collection for a few cents. The “Cm² Arte Contemporânea” project aims at making art affordable for the smallest amount, where every squared centimetre, interpreted as an artwork, visually assures and represents a single unity of the full value. The project simulates a marketing table that attributes the artists their smallest market share, pointing out a broad view of the many values attributed to contemporary production.
The collective developed a simple formula to work out the value of one squared centimetre of an artwork: they take into consideration the highest sum, the lowest and the most common market value of each one. Crossing these informations with the artworks sizes, you get the average 1cm² price of the artist, who signed a contract in agreement to the defined worth.
Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima – Chora Chuva
“Chora Chuva” is a project based on the figurative definition of “Be at a crossroads”: A point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved. A crisis situation or point in time when a critical decision must be made. A crucial point. Turning point.
“Chora Chuva” —literally translated as “crying rain”—emerged from Motta and Lima’s interest in Vancouver’s climate, and its impact on the local lifestyle. Buckets half-filled with water vibrate, recreating the visual of water droplets, while hidden speakers emit the soft and familiar sound of rainfall.
In staging this indoor shower, the artists invite Vancouverites to experience rainfall through a fresh perspective. In this installation Motta and Lima recreate a situation where rain invades an indoor area, where what should be kept on the outsides invades the internal domain.
Motta and Lima, whose own conception of rain is marked by the rainforests of Brazil, characterize rain as “a phenomenon with poetic potential we have always been interested in addressing.” In “Chora Chuva”, rain is characterized as a condition of transformation and transition, where the idea of bringing rain to an interior space is evoked by the visual and sonical reference of the water droplets.
Marcelo Moscheta – Arbor Vitae
The western Red Cedar is British Columbia’s official tree. It is sometimes called arbor vitae, which means “tree of life” in Latin. In “Arbor-Vitae”, Moscheta uses this provincial symbol to explore the intersection of memory, history and landscape. During his time in Vancouver, Moscheta undertook extensive research at the Museum of Anthropology, where he investigated the connection between the western Red Cedar Tree and the hidden layers of geography, history and culture. Inspired by the landscape in Stanley Park, Moscheta created a detailed graphite drawing of a tree stump on three sheets of black PVC. The sun-bleached driftwood placed at the base of the drawing was sourced by the artist along the city’s beaches. Moscheta recorded the GPS coordinates of each logs, framing a poignant commentary on natural history and commercial resources.
Raul Mourão – Swing HD and Swing HN
Mourão’s kinetic sculptures combine simple geometric shapes with the complex poetry of motion. At first glance, the great metal cubes seem to exist simply as minimalist sculptures. However, Mourão invites his audience to push at the traditional boundaries separating artwork and viewer, and physically thrust the work into motion. Like a perpetual motion machine, his immense sculptures draw power from the tension of potential energy. The simple series of aluminum tubes provide a provocative study in contradictions—made of unyielding metal, and yet constantly in flux.
Mariana Manhães – Mas (vasos de vidro branco)
In “Breathing Lungs”, Manhães employs electrical elements and animatronic devices to create a mechanical/robotic sculpture specifically designed for the exhibition space and placed as if it is emerging from the building. The installation and the viewer embark upon a symbiotic journey, as Manhães’ set of programmed audio-visual stimuli invite passersby to explore.
As the viewer passes through, filmy plastic bags fill with air and deflate like lungs, seemingly at random. Two projectors emit looping images of shadowy figures and, in the background, indistinct speech can be heard. Central to the work is Manhaes’ concern with communication. While the speech sounds familiar, it is in fact an imaginary language, created by the artist and creates a sense that something has been lost in translation. Unlike the physical components of the work, which are exposed to the viewers, the origin of the speech is nebulous, impossible to place. It is this struggle to communicate, pushing at the borders of art and language, that gives the work its approximation of life.
“Focus on Brazil”, featuring works by Filé de Peixe, Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima, João Loureiro, Marcelo Moscheta, Mariana Manhães and Raul Mourão
Visiting hours: Sun-Thurs, 11am to 6pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 1pm to 9pm
International Pavillion – Pipefitters Building
19 Wallace Mews – North Vancouver