Itinerant circuit of the 31st São Paulo Biennial arrives in Portugal next week

(Porto, Portugal)

The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves holds next week the itinerant exhibition of the 31st Bienal de São Paulo, Como (…) coisas que não existem. The show presents works by artists such as Armando Queiroz, Clara Ianni, Éder Oliveira, Gabriel Mascaro and PIPA 2015 finalist, Virginia de Medeiros.


How to (live with) things that don’t exist features 28 artists and artist collectives selected from the 31st São Paulo Biennial, which was presented in the Oscar Niemeyer designed pavilion in the Ibirapuera Park between 6 September and 7 December 2014. The curatorial selection for Serralves has been made by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat and Oren Sagiv, three of the curators of the São Paulo exhibition. 

The exhibition’s investigation into art’s revelatory potential is being reconfigured for the physical, social and cultural context of the city of Porto and Serralves Museum. The selected artworks, from paintings and sculptures to video and installation, distil the ideas of the Brazilian exhibition and focus on how art can alter ways of thinking about the world. Through imagining forms of life and society that are different or do not (yet) exist, the artworks question the authority of religion, history and systems of control and suggest how it could be different. The title of the exhibition is itself in constant change with the mutating verb suggesting some of the many, different ways to experience art as a process of becoming. As well as the works from the Biennial, the presentation at Serralves features a specially curated programme of discussions (the Programme in Time) that will take place in a dedicated area within the exhibition. How to (learn from) things that don’t exist also includes an important work by the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles from the Serralves Collection. 

The works of other Brazilian artists are strongly represented in the selection and reveal ways in which the current artistic generation has emerged from the shadow of Tropicalismo and Brazilian modernism. Artists from Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey are also featured, as are a number of projects made especially for the Biennial. 

Notable works include the powerful wall portraits of Éder Oliveira (1983, Brazil); the video Ymá Nhandehetama by Armando Queiroz (1968, Brazil) that recounts the invisibility of the indigenous people of Brazil in their own country; the river drawings of Anna Boghiguian (1946, Egypt), and the film installation by Virginia de Medeiros (1973, Brazil) address gender issues, religious rituals and spirituality. The transparent mobile of Voluspa Jarpa (1971, Chile) and the video work of Clara Ianni (1987, Brazil) bring together the ghosts from the colonial past and the legacies of dictatorship. Both these histories and the intensity of contemporary urban life are ever present throughout the exhibition. This reimagined Biennale also takes on a more fictional and metaphorical character with installations by Walid Raad (1967, Lebanon), Edward Krasinski (1925?2004, Poland), paintings by Wilhelm Sasnal (1972, Poland) and a dramatic film by Yael Bartana (1970, Israel) imagining the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in São Paulo. 

“How to (live with) things that don’t exist”, with Armando Queiroz, Clara Ianni, Éder Oliveira, Gabriel Mascaro and Virginia de Medeiros
Curated by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat and Oren Sagiv
Opening: 1st October
On view through 17th January 2016

Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves
Rua D. João de Castro, 210 – 4150-417
T: +351 226156500

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