A conversation between artists and contributors. That’s how the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, on view since June 9th this year in various venues, announces itself. Addressing the “widespread states of collective psychosis” in which the world has seemed to fall into, the exhibition, featuring 46 international artists, proposes the refusal of coherent readings of both the past and current times in order to embrace subjectivity as it is: complex, contradictory, and definitely not heroic – thus the exhibition’s title, “We don’t need another hero”, a homage to the famous Tina Turner song.
Perhaps due to the presence of a Brazilian scholar in its curatorial team (São Paulo-based curator Thiago de Paula Souza), the exhibition features artworks by two artists from the country, Cinthia Marcelle – a PIPA Prize finalist in the award’s first edition, in 2010 – and Fabiana Faleiros. Marcelle, acclaimed in the 2017 edition of the Biennale di Venezia, showcases a work from her series “Legendaries”, started ten years ago and still ongoing. “In essence a gesture of recognition” according to Thulile Gamedze, author of the introductory text to the piece, the project was specially commissioned for the event and criticizes the modern myth of art institutions as it analyzes the way it deals with regular employees (not its stars) in the day-by-day life. Faleiros, in turn, is way more direct in her critique. The Pelotas-born artist showcases a traveling bar which discusses, through lecture-shows, workshops, and art objects, the matter of female masturbation. Indeed, the very name of the piece is a joke with the verb “to masturbate” in Portuguese, “masturbar”: “Mastur Bar” (2015–2018).
“We don’t need another hero / We don’t need to know the way home,” sings Tina Turner in her 1985 hit. Indeed, according to this edition of the Berlin Biennale, the best route to escape contemporary anxieties is to explore the political potential of the act of self-preservation, fighting against simplistic knowledge systems that allow the growth of toxic subjectivities.
“10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: We don’t need another hero”
Curated by Gabi Ngcobo
Assistant curators: Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, Serubiri Moses, Thiago de Paula Souza and Yvette Mutumba
On view from June 9th through September 9th, 2018
Various venues (see here for further information)