The presence of nationalism as a means to understanding the disputes that mark our time. That is the background of the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil | Imagined Communities, which will run from October 9, 2019 through February 2, 2020, at Sesc 24 de Maio, in São Paulo, comprising over 60 works of art and two collections, 55 artists from 28 countries, among video, painting, photography and installation.
The Biennial borrows the title from Benedict Anderson’s classic study to reflect on forms of social and community organization existing beyond, on the fringes or in the breaches of nation states: religious or mystical communities, refugee groups uprooted from their original land, clandestine, fictional and utopian communities or those constituted in the underground worlds of bodily and sexual experiences.
That is the horizon featured in the works by artists from indigenous groups or original peoples from Brazil, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and New Zealand that deal with the issues present in the making and representation of those cultures in art and the world (works by Alberto Guarani, Jim Denomie, Alto Amazonas Audiovisual, Claudia Martínez Garay and others), in works that address the queer/LGBT universe (Aykan Safoglu, Megan-Leigh Heilig, Nilbar Güres, #Vote LGBT, Paulo Mendel & Vitor Grunvald), racial issues (Emo de Medeiros, Nelson Makengo, Thierry Oussou, Jonathas de Andrade etc.), border conflicts. To these and so many works are added projects by five guest artists – Andrea Tonacci, Hrair Sarkissian, Teresa Margolles, Rosana Paulino and Thierry Oussou.
Works by 50 selected and five guest artists are distributed on the ground, third, fifth and sixth floors. Throughout the display of 60 works and two collections, visitors will come across an unprecedented video installation by Rosana Paulino, flags made by Mônica Nador and the collective JAMAC, a collection of African jewelry acquired by MAE-USP in the 1970s and never shown in public, a memorial totem developed by the New Zealand artist Brett Graham, an Islamic mosaic installation made of sand that will be swept away at the opening of the exhibition by the Saudi artist Dana Awartani, visitors will be able to take part of and activate the work RESISTA by the collective Chameckilerner, actions with the audience planned by the collective #VOTELGBT, works by original and indigenous peoples, such as that by Alberto Guarani, as well as videos, photographs, paintings and installations in different formats capable of bringing visitors into intimate and immersive contact with the theme of the Biennial.
A program of performances, debates, film screenings and public actions runs through the three months of the exhibition (check days and times at bienalsescvideobrasil.org.br). One of the highlights of this schedule is the seminar “Imagined Communities,” which gathers over six days (October 15, 16 and 17; November 12, 13 and 14) national and international guests to debate themes directly related to the exhibition – Lucy Lippard, Vladimir Safatle, Suely Rolnik, Guilherme Wisnik, Maria Rita Khel, Amara Moira, Ampam Karakras, Coletivo Guarani, among others.
Sesc 24 de Maio
Rua 24 de Maio, 109, Centro.
Visiting hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Sundays and holidays, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.